Work has begun to remove the controversial shipping container wall on the Mexico-US border in Arizona. The state’s outgoing governor, Doug Ducey, promised to start removing the shipping containers on December 29. The order, however, was postponed until Sunday, January 1, when workers began to dismantle the barrier.
It took a federal lawsuit to put an end to the makeshift border wall, which was erected in an attempt to stop the flow of migrants into the state. The complaint claimed metal containers posed an environmental risk to the Coronado National Forest, the only forest on the 1,800-mile border between Mexico and the United States.
Katie Hobbs, who was elected governor of Arizona in the November midterm elections and sworn in on Monday, does not believe the makeshift wall has curbed illegal immigration. Indeed, the number of undocumented arrivals increased while the containers were blocking the border. Hobbs said the containers can be used for other purposes, such as providing temporary accommodation to homeless people in the state. For now, they will be transferred to the state prison located in Yuma County.
Ducey’s project was never fully completed: only one-third of the containers needed for the wall were erected. The Arizona government invested $80 million in the project. The Hobbs administration will now have to spend about $76 million to remove the containers. This spending of public money has sparked anger among the public.
Border security will be one of the main issues discussed at a January 9 summit in Mexico. The summit will be attended by US President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who will host the meeting. As part of the agenda, Biden is expected to make his first border visit since taking office. The details, however, have not been confirmed by his administration.
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