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Arizona | The container wall on the border with Mexico has been dismantled

(Hereford) On a dirt road in Arizona, a pickup truck drives up and removes a large metal crate. On the US-Mexico border, a wall of containers, installed for tens of millions of dollars just a few months ago, was dismantled this weekend.

In the months before his term ended, the Republican governor of Arizona in the southwestern United States ordered a huge row of containers to be placed on the border with Mexico, in order to reduce illegal immigration, he said.

But after she was sued by the federal state for placing the containers on federal land in the Coronado National Forest, Gov. Greg Ducey, who has since been replaced by Democrat Katie Hobbs, agreed in December to remove them.

Image by Robyn Beck, AFP

“I can’t believe Governor Ducey thought it was a good idea,” Debbie McGuire, a former Arizona citizen who came to watch the dismantling operations, told AFP.

“It is absolutely absurd to put containers that will never be able to keep people out,” she said. “It is absurd and a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.”

The construction of the container wall began in the middle of 2022 and soon met with strong slingshots. Its critics believe the gathering is nothing more than a cynical political maneuver that harms the environment and has no bearing on the number of illegal border crossings.

Steep terrain

They say the container wall, which stretches nearly seven kilometers across federal land, encroaches on an area important for environmental conservation.

Image by Robyn Beck, AFP

The relief there is also so steep that smugglers never actually used this area.

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In practice, the containers were insufficient to prevent migrants from crossing them: their rigid shape meant that they were not always aligned with the terrain, leaving gaps between the boxes.

“It’s a charade and a waste of public money,” said Bill Wilson, a resident of the nearby town who came to watch the container wall’s dismantling on Friday.

The Septuagint also condemns “political strategy”.

Arizona shares about 600 km of border with Mexico, passing through protected areas, national parks, military zones, and Native American reservations.

Illegal immigrants from countries in South and Central America are a recurring theme in Republican attacks on Joe Biden, who has vowed to increase immediate deportations.

More than 230,000 arrests were still recorded in November at the southern border of the United States, a record high.

Until the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House in 2017 – who campaigned on the slogan “Let’s build the wall” – there wasn’t really a physical barrier between Arizona and Mexico.

Now, large parts of the border have a net that rises in places as high as nine metres.

In the Coronado National Forest, which is only accessible via small dirt roads, the boundary before container arrivals is only demarcated with barbed wire fencing.