Arizona taxpayers to pay over $200 million for former Gov. Ducey’s border wall 'political stunt': report
The removal of Arizona’s makeshift shipping container border wall will cost taxpayers over $200 million to remove, AZCentral reports.
Former Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey, whose idea it was to build the wall during his term, agreed to its removal after he was sued by the Department of Justice in December, just two weeks before newly elected Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs assumed office. Hobbs has staunchly opposed construction of the wall, dismissing it as a “political stunt” for the media.
Ducey's agreement with the government also came before the wall could be completed, as protestors have recently interfered with its construction
The money for its “construction, administration and maintenance” came from $335 million stored by the Arizona Border Security Fund. And now with the removal comes the steep cost of $200 million, which includes take down, transport and work costs.
AshBritt, a Florida-based emergency management company was awarded the contract to build and tear down the containers “without the regular bidding process” because “their solution was the most expeditious due to the emergency nature of the work,” Arizona Department of Administration spokesperson, Megan Rose, confirmed.
Although Governor Katie Hobbs’ office declined to comment on the matter, she spoke out against the “politicization of immigration and ‘political stunts’ used to incite media attention” during her recent “State of the State” address.
Despite the containers, according to AZCentral, footage of migrants climbing up and hopping over the makeshift wall recently swarmed social media.
"Arizona voters told us in November they don’t want or need political stunts designed solely to garner sensationalist TV coverage and generate social media posts," Hobbs said.
Other advocates and environmental experts have also criticized the “physical border fence.”
Emily Burns, program director with the environmental group Sky Island Alliance said, “It's really tragic to think that all of this money has just been wasted and now we're going to see the scar on the landscape from this action for many, many years.“
She continued, “It's a staggering amount of money that could have been spent on so many other things.”
Experts said that the wall has “damaged protected lands,” to which Burns burns confirmed when she noted that the containers have “widened the border road and blocked wash and creek beds with sediment.”
Co-founder of the Center for Biological Diversity, Robin Silver, asserted that funds for the containers could have been allocated to “support other state institutions,” or perhaps, to “improve the immigration system” and “alleviate some of the misery that (migrants) are experiencing."
“They're humans, that's where we should be spending our money, not on some racist stunt,” she said.
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