Taking down the shipping containers at the Arizona border will cost $76 million

By Jill Ryan, Ignacio Ventura
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Published: Friday, December 30, 2022 - 2:02pm
Updated: Friday, December 30, 2022 - 2:06pm

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Arizona Gov Doug Ducey surveys shipping containers used to close gaps in the border wall
Office of the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey surveys shipping containers used to close gaps in the border wall near Yuma on Sept. 8, 2022.

After months of scrutiny from environmentalists, immigration advocates and the U.S. government, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is taking down the shipping containers he had seemingly illegally put up.

Ducey originally ordered the installation of the containers back in August in response to immigrant crossings.

The project cost the state $95 million. The construction costs came out of a $335 million Arizona Border Security Fund approved by lawmakers earlier this year as part of a new state budget. But now, tearing the containers down will cost an additional $76 million. Due to the security fund’s stipulations, it is unclear where the money will come from. 

But Ducey’s spokesperson, C.J. Karamargin, says the effort was not a waste.

"We know that local officials, local law enforcement officials, like the sheriffs in Cochise and Yuma county, were both appreciative of the effort because it made their job to protect their communities a little bit easier," Karamargin said.

The federal government had sued Ducey for trespassing and damaging federal land. He had countersued claiming the specific border lands belonged to Arizona, despite the U.S. government owning the land before Arizona became a state. 

The Coronado National Forest is temporarily closing a portion of its region as officials begin removing the containers.

The project is located in the Sierra Vista Ranger District. Removal operations are expected to last from January to March. The Coronado National Forest previously warned visitors about entering the area where the "unauthorized" wall construction occurred.