Governor Doug Ducey announced Wednesday that 3,820 feet of previously open border near Yuma, Arizona is now closed with a barrier of double-stacked and secured shipping containers.
“Following a historic investment in this year’s state budget, forged in partnership with legislative leaders, we’ve taken a major step forward to secure our border,” said Governor Ducey. “Five wide open gaps in the border wall near Yuma neighborhoods and businesses are now closed off. In just 11 days, Arizona did the job the federal government has failed to do — and we showed them just how quickly and efficiently the border can be made more secure – if you want to.”
The border mission was proposed by Governor Ducey in January during his State of the State address, where he stated, “Our southern border has never been more deadly or more dangerous. Meanwhile, the White House and Congress have decided to turn a blind eye. This is a national crisis – and it calls for leadership… Where Arizona can add physical barriers to the border, we will.”
The funding for the initiative was signed into law by Governor Ducey on June 30.
The fast-moving Yuma Border Barrier Mission was launched when Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order on August 12. The last of the 130 shipping containers was installed on August 23. The innovative solution is an example to the federal government on how to effectively secure the border in a short amount of time.
“On the day President Biden was sworn into office, he issued a proclamation ordering a pause in the construction of the border wall going up on our southern border,” Governor Ducey said. “Since then, illegal activity in Yuma and other border communities have skyrocketed. Arizona could not just stand by and allow this situation to continue.”
Recent numbers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection show the Yuma sector had 259,895 migrant encounters from October 2021 to July 2022 – a nearly 250 percent increase from the prior year and the highest increase of all border sectors. Nearly 24,500 of those encounters were in July.
“Our Border Barrier Mission is a win for Arizona, our communities, our farmers and our law enforcement,” Governor Ducey said. “But the effort to secure our border is far from complete. Washington must act. Border security is a federal responsibility. They need to fix the border they’ve broken.”
Arizona was informed in December 2021 that the gaps left open by the pause in construction would soon be filled. The federal government has still not fulfilled their promise. As Governor Ducey said when he announced the Border Barrier Mission, “Arizona has had enough. We can’t wait any longer.”
It took 48 workers from contractor Ashbritt to install the 8,800-pound shipping containers and 4,500 feet of concertina wire.
Yuma communities, hospitals, nonprofits, food banks and shelters have been overcapacity for months. The barrier mission looked to relieve the hard-struck community quickly and efficiently.
“Every day hundreds of people come across the border into the Yuma area,” said Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls. “By closing the border wall gaps, Governor Ducey is helping to protect our city from the dangerous drugs and bad actors that come through on a daily basis. Yuma is grateful for the effective process of getting these containers in place quickly and secured. Governor Ducey showed the nation how to secure the border and keep illegal activity at the border at bay.”
The Yuma sector has seen some of the highest numbers of border crossers, as transnational criminal organizations flood the open border to pull away law enforcement resources and bring dangerous drugs into the nation at unprecedented rates.
A recent CBP drug seizure shows the tactics cartels are using to target and exploit younger users, creating “candy-like” fentanyl pills.
“The open border left behind by the Biden administration has left Yuma County residents exhausted and our resources depleted,” said Jonathan Lines, Yuma County Supervisor. “We’re tired of the lethal drugs and human smuggling entering our county. These containers are making a huge difference and will disrupt the cartels’ trafficking operations. Thank you, Governor Ducey, for prioritizing our county and protecting our families.”
“Crossing between points of entry is illegal,” said Tim Roemer, Arizona Department of Homeland Security Director and the state’s Chief Information Security Officer. “The cartels have been taking advantage of the gaps in the border wall to surge migrants and overwhelm law enforcement. In 11 days, Arizona has regained more operational control at the US Mexico border, than Biden has in 20 months. Governor Ducey has shown great leadership in how to effectively and efficiently secure the border.”
The first 842-foot gap took 44 containers and four days to fill. The second took eight containers to fill 130 feet in half a day. Another four containers filled the third 75-foot gap, which took half a day. It took four days to fill a 1,200-foot gap with 60 containers. The last gap was 250 feet and was filled with 14 containers over three days.