(Hereford) On a dusty road in Arizona, a pickup truck pulls up and carries a large metal box. A wall of containers along the border between the United States and Mexico, installed a few months ago at a cost of millions of dollars, was removed this weekend.
A few months before his mandate ended, the Republican governor of Arizona, in the southwestern United States, ordered a giant container to be placed on the border with Mexico to deter illegal immigration.
But after being sued by the federal government for placing the containers on federal land in the Coronado National Forest, Gov. Greg Ducey, replaced by Democrat Katie Hobbs, agreed in December to remove them.
“I can’t believe Governor Ducey thought this was a good idea,” Debbie McGuire, an Arizona resident who came to see the removal operations, told AFP.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous to put containers that can never keep people out,” he said. “It’s ridiculous and a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.”
Construction of the container wall began in mid-2022 and quickly faced a powerful slingshot. Its critics believe it will have no effect on the number of illegal border crossings, except as a cynical political maneuver to damage the environment.
They say the nearly seven-kilometer-long containment wall on federal lands encroaches on an important environmental conservation area.
The relief there is so steep that, according to them, migrant smugglers don’t really use the area.
In practice, the containers were not enough to prevent migrants from crossing them: their rigid form, they were not always aligned with the terrain, leaving gaps between the boxes.
“It’s a travesty and a waste of public money,” said Bill Wilson, another Arizona resident who came to watch the removal of the container wall on Friday.
The Septuaginian also condemns “a political strategy.”
Arizona shares about 600 kilometers of border with Mexico, passing through protected areas, national parks, military zones and Native American reservations.
Illegal immigrants from South and Central American countries have been a recurring theme in Republican attacks on Joe Biden, who has pledged to immediately increase deportations.
More than 230,000 arrests were still recorded along the US southern border in November, a record high.
Until Donald Trump came to the White House in 2017 — campaigning on the slogan “Let’s Build the Wall” — there was no real physical barrier between Arizona and Mexico.
Now, large parts of the border have a rising phase in places up to nine meters high.
In the Coronado National Forest, accessible only by small dirt roads, before the arrival of the containers the border was limited only by a barbed wire fence.