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AZ governor agrees to dismantle shipping container wall

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(NewsNation) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s shipping container wall is coming down after a lawsuit from the Biden adminstration.

Ducey began construction of the shipping container wall along the Mexico border despite objections from conservation groups, the federal government and activists.

Ducey’s container wall effort began in late summer in Yuma in western Arizona, a popular crossing point, with scores of asylum-seekers arriving daily and often finding ways to circumvent the new barriers. The containers filled areas left open when Trump’s 450-mile border wall was built. But remote San Rafael Valley — the latest construction site — is not typically used by migrants and was not contemplated in Trump’s wall construction plan.

Border Patrol agents have seen record-high numbers of crossings in recent months, overwhelming towns near the U.S.-Mexico border. And more migrants are expected to cross as Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that allowed agents to turn migrants away at the border even if they were seeking asylum, is set to expire.

A judge extended Title 42 earlier in the week, but those who hope to cross to the U.S. were already lining up in preparation to cross and it’s not clear if border agencies will have the resources to handle the upcoming flood of people.

The Biden administration’s lawsuit against the shipping container wall said it was trespassing on federal land, as Ducey did not have permission to stack the containers there.

The Justice Department sued on behalf of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service it oversees.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement from Washington that the project “is not an effective barrier, it poses safety hazards to both the public and those working in the area and has significantly damaged public land.”

“We need serious solutions at our border, with input from local leaders and communities. Stacking shipping containers is not a productive solution,” Vilsack said.

Ducey agreed to remove the containers, but he has previously said he wants the U.S. government to say when it will fill any remaining gaps in the permanent border wall as it announced it would a year ago.

The U.S. “owes it to Arizonans and all Americans to release a timeline,” he wrote in an earlier letter, responding to news of the pending federal complaint.

In the meantime, residents and officials along the border brace for an increase in crossings, even as winter storms hit and temperatures drop to dangerously cold levels and shelters scramble to prepare for those in need.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.