August 31, 2023

Arizona settles federal lawsuit over shipping container border wall


Arizona has agreed to pay $2.1 million to the U.S. government for damage done to federal and tribal land during construction of a roughly 4-mile wall of shipping containers at the Mexico border.

The payment will settle a lawsuit filed in December by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) against former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the state over the construction of the improvised border wall made of more than 3,000 shipping containers.

As part of the deal, the DOJ will drop the lawsuit, which alleged crews building the makeshift wall were trespassing on federal land and did not seek permission or the proper federal permits.

The $2 million settlement from Arizona will be used by the U.S. Forest Service, which said it could cost millions to remedy damage done to federal and tribal lands by the containers.

The agreement between the DOJ and the state of Arizona was filed in federal court and the U.S. government has agreed to drop the case after the bill is paid, according to the Arizona News Service

Ducey began construction of the border wall in August 2022, vowing to build about 10 miles of the barrier in the southeastern part of the state. The roughly 4 miles of wall that was eventually constructed cost about $95 million, which came from an Arizona border fund approved by state lawmakers in 2022.

The Arizona border wall was constructed to help curb illegal immigration, Ducey said.

Ducey agreed to remove the wall in December after the federal lawsuit was filed. The cost to tear down and transport the containers was another $64 million, according to a report from AZPM.

Arizona officials have begun to sell the remaining 2,200 shipping containers that were used to construct the makeshift border wall.

While Arizona has removed its shipping containers, the state of Texas still has several hundred feet of containers lining the border near the cities of El Paso and Eagle Pass. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott erected the shipping container wall to “physically block any illegal immigrants from entry” into the U.S., Renae Eze, Abbott’s spokeswoman, said in an email to FreightWaves.

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