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  • Allen Czermak

Can The Shipping Container Controversy In Arizona Be Solved Before It’s Too Late?

Who ever said that the supply chain crisis is not political? Well, then why are empty shipping containers causing such a major controversy at the Mexican border? When we hear or read about shipping containers the first thing that comes to mind is the supply chain crisis. However, because of inflation or recession or both, supplies deliveries have decreased, and the backups at the ports in the United States have lessened. Since the orders for goods out of the United States have diminished as well, the shipping containers have remained empty and idle, inducing clever advocates to find other important usages for these vessels. Republican Governor Doug Ducey from Arizona is using these containers to fill in the empty spaces of the wall that the Trump administration began so earnestly but could not finish the job properly. Spaces in the wall were left empty resulting in illegal immigrants coming in without permission. The political debate continues as the Democrats and Republicans face off on what to do at the United States and Mexican border.

· Should the building of the wall that President Trump started, continue?

· How should the migrants be stopped, or should they be allowed to come into the USA illegally?

· Who has jurisdiction over the security at the Mexican border, the state, or the federal government?

This volatile issue has turned into a political matter at the border of San Rafael Valley, Arizona, and Mexico. The outgoing Republican governor is determined to get as much of the border wall built as possible before the inauguration of the Democratic-elect governor Katie Hobbs. It all boils down to what to do with those supply chain containers sitting idly. Arizona is not the first state to attempt to use waiting containers as border walls and those who want better border controls are all for these containers being put to what they call, “good use”.

Will Governor Doug Ducey succeed to continue building a wall with supply containers or does Governor Elect Katie Hobbs have some other ideas in her head?

Outgoing Governor Ducey and the state of Arizona are being sued by the United States government. The Federal government is protesting shipping containers being used as a wall on the Mexican border. The lawsuit stipulates that the state has no jurisdiction on the border and is unlawfully building the walls on federal government property. This lawsuit was filed just three weeks before Governor Ducey’s term comes to an end and Governor-elect Hobbs takes over. Governor Ducey acknowledged that he would remove these, “temporary containers' ' if the U.S. government agrees to fill in the gaps in the permanent border walls that were started in President Trump's term of office. This problem of gaps in the border has been an issue of contention in Republican political races.

Outgoing Governor Ducey has counter sued the Federal government on October 21 of this year claiming their objections to his building of the temporary container wall as unconstitutional. He sued the Federal government to stop the forced removal of 130 shipping containers that are being used as a temporary wall to stop illegal Mexicans from coming over the Arizona border. The lawsuit requested from the judge that he should prevent the Federal government from interfering with the Arizona Governor’s continuation of placing shipping containers on the Mexican border. Ducey is holding strong against removing any of the containers.

The task of bringing almost three thousand containers is one third finished at a cost of $95 million and is being protested by others such as environmentalists in addition to the Federal government lawsuit. Agricultural secretary, Tom Vilsack claims that the double stacked shipping container fences are not an effective barrier posing danger to all who go near them be it the migrants, or the construction workers.

The political arena is in full swing with the pro-border-security claiming that the migrants are hazards to the American people while the left argue that the containers themselves are dangerous. Ducey claims that he was hopeful that when President Biden took office, he would fulfill his announcement that he would fill the vacant border fence gaps but when that didn’t happen, Ducey was forced to build the shipping containers temporary barrier. While asylum seekers were crossing the border in Arizona at Yuma this summer, the state of Arizona filled in Trump’s 450-mile border with various containers, but San Rafael Valley was not included in Trump’s border wall plan since it was considered remote. However, this is exactly where clever migrants have found a hole in the wall and are trying to come in this very spot illegally forcing Governor Ducey to take action.

The money that Governor Ducey used for securing the border project is from an approved allowance from the Arizona Border Security Fund, a restricted account from the Republican controlled Legislature. In order for the barrier containers to be taken down there would need to be approval from the same Republican Legislature to amend the law and there will still be a Republican controlled Legislature when Katie Hobbs takes office.

Democratic Governor elect Katie Hobbs has not yet decided what she will do with those containers when she takes office this January 5. One of her ideas is to use the shipping containers to build affordable housing for low income and homeless people. Hobbs won the election over her opponent Kari Lake who promised to bring in the National Guard to protect the border on her very first day of office.

What are the Environmentalists Concerns?

The San Pedro River floods during the monsoon season in the summertime and containers are stationed on top of a watershed of this river which can endanger the beaver, an endangered species in Mexico. The Trump wall construction changed the landscape of the Guadalupe Canyon on the southeastern corner of Arizona barring animals such as Mexican pronghorns, tiny elf and Mexican spotted owls and other threatened species from crossing into the United States to mate or hunt for food. Waterways are also being affected negatively by these barriers. To build the wall, dynamite had to be blasted and other constructional necessities are being protested by environmentalists.

Environmentalists Protest Shipping Container Wall

Protests against Arizona Governor Ducey began in August and continue as the weather gets colder. A minor demonstration has turned into a major standoff as twenty protesters brave freezing temperatures because of the executive order of a state of emergency issued by Gov. Ducey to fill in the missing gaps in the present border wall in Yuma County, Arizona with steel shipping containers amounting to almost three thousand. These demonstrators have stated that they will remain until every single container is removed, pitching tents, and even bringing a Christmas tree to show how serious they are for a long-term stay. Gov. Ducey is protecting himself against President Bidens’ open border policy which allows illegals to enter from Mexico without permission. Gov. Ducey asserts that he is protecting his citizens from imminent danger and those Mexicans as well who will not have places to stay come the cold weather.

Final Words

Any intelligent citizen can see both sides of the coin when it comes to the issue of the border wall between Mexico and the United States particularly in this article, Arizona. The Republican governor of Arizona and his supporters want to protect American citizens from harm by violent and criminal elements that cross the border in tremendous numbers. Besides the criminal aspect of these people, there is also the practical one of where will these people live, who will clothe and feed them and how will their children be kept safe and warm?

On the other side of the coin are the so-called environmentalists who claim they are worrying about the damage to the physical environment by the same shipping containers that are temporarily protecting them from trauma. Yes, it’s true that we don’t want to hurt the endangered animal species that roam freely between Mexico and the United States as well as any other natural resources, but at what expense? This argument is reminiscent of those protesters against fur coats and vegans who object to the killing of animals for food.

In a perfect world, the saving of animals for food and clothing and free ranging of endangered species from one country to another would certainly be undisputed but our citizens should take priority over illegal immigrants and roaming animals. We welcome all immigrants who come in legally to our country as that is how our country became great with a melting pot of people from all over the world. However, when we read or hear tragedies of criminals who sneak into the United States undeterred, we should pause and think about what our true priorities should be. Let’s hope that those temporary shipping container walls will help keep our country safe while we wait for the Federal government to act on finding solutions that will benefit both Mexico and America.

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