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U.S. Department of Interior says Arizona broke federal law with shipping container placement

The letter comes nearly 2 months since the first container was placed

YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) - The federal government says Arizona and Governor Ducey broke the law when they placed 122 shipping containers in multiple gaps in Yuma's border wall.

The containers themselves, and the placement of the containers, were both bought and paid for by the state using money from its over $534 million border security fund.

At the time, a spokesperson for the governor said the Yuma project cost $6 million.

The letter is from the U.S. Department of the Interior and was sent to Tim Roemer, Arizona's Homeland Security Director, and Allen Clark, the state Director of Emergency and Military affairs.

Roemer told KYMA on August 12th that he was not concerned about the legality of the project.

“The situation is so dire that’s why we’re taking action today,” Roemer said. “Even the federal government has admitted the gaps need to be closed, we just believe the situation needs to be done immediately,”

In fiscal year 2022, Yuma Sector Border Patrol Chief Chirs Clem said local agents had made over 310,000 apprehensions.

In December of 2021, the federal government said it would be closing Yuma's gaps.

But eight months later the gaps remained open, and Governor Doug Ducey said he would no longer wait.

Governor Ducey visits the Yuma border on September 8th

"Arizona has had enough,” said Governor Ducey on August 12th. “We can’t wait any longer. The Biden administration’s lack of urgency on border security is a dereliction of duty. For the last two years, Arizona has made every attempt to work with Washington to address the crisis on our border. Time and time again we’ve stepped in to clean up their mess. Arizonans can’t wait any longer for the federal government to deliver on their delayed promises.”

The letter from the Department of the Interior reveals Customs and Border Protection has awarded two wall gap construction contracts for Yuma and soon will award two more.

It also asks the state to remove the containers.

You are requested to work with Reclamation, in consultation with the Cocopah Indian Tribe, so that CBP’s project may proceed without unnecessary delay. Reclamation will be reaching out to DEMA to discuss a way forward and requests your cooperation in the removal of the containers.

Letter from the U.S. Department of the Interior to the state of Arizona

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Adam Klepp

Adam Klepp is excited to start his first job in the broadcast news industry as the FOX9 at 9 anchor and as a reporter at 5 and 6 on News 11.

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