Outgoing right-wing Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is being sued by the Biden administration over a Trumpian border "protection" plan that was ugly in every sense of the word.
Ducey's administration has spent months erecting an architectural monstrosity even more odious than Trump’s beleaguered border wall — and the new lawsuit could kill it for good. Since August, Ducey has directed Arizona officials to stack shipping containers along swaths of the U.S.-Mexico border and top them with barbed wire, forming a ghastly makeshift wall of his own creation to the federal government’s dismay.
It’s yet another stunt from Ducey, who’s made bigoted theater a calling card during his time as governor. Remember: Like similar stunts from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, this year Ducey transported migrants from his state’s border to Washington, D.C., a demonstration against immigration that was seemingly meant to pander to xenophobic hatred.
But the shipping containers are a uniquely hideous shrine to white, anti-immigrant hysteria. And they've been proven hilariously ineffective at times. Thankfully, though, as of last week, the federal government has sued Ducey — effectively, the state of Arizona — to remove them.
“Arizona has entered reclamation and forest service lands along the U.S.-Mexico border and installed— and continues to install — hundreds of double-stacked multi-ton, shipping containers that damage federal lands, threaten public safety, and impede the ability of federal agencies and officials, including law enforcement personnel, to perform their official duties,” according to a lawsuit filed last Wednesday.
The Biden administration is asking the U.S. District Court for Arizona to rule that Ducey's sordid project trespasses on federal lands and violates various federal laws. The federal government is seeking damages from Arizona for the cost of removing the containers and repairing the land they’ve harmed.
Wildlife experts have sounded the alarm about the potentially devastating impact of Ducey’s not-so-little art project. They’ve said the containers block key migration routes for endangered species leaving Mexico, impede water sources important to sustaining plant life along the border, and damage habitats.
Ducey will hand control of the governorship over to Democratic Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs, who has criticized the container wall, in mere weeks. Hobbs has vowed to stop adding new containers, and a federal lawsuit adds further incentive to off them for good.
Responding to the federal government, Ducey’s spokesman told the Arizona Republic that “the shipping containers were always a temporary solution to an ongoing problem.” The spokesperson claimed the boondoggle — which was set to cost $95 million once complete — was a success because it “got the federal government to do their job.”
Of course, that’s a very self-serving reading of things, to put it mildly. The federal government literally had to ask Ducey to remove some segments of the fake wall he made because it was impeding plans the administration had already made to fill gaps in the partial wall Trump erected.
The shipping containers were bigoted, bad policy and literally a bad look. A fitting homage to the outgoing governor.