Shipping containers meant to stop undocumented immigration could obstruct a critical jaguar migration route, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
Arizona governor Doug Ducey isn’t waiting for federal dollars to continue building the controversial border wall between his state and Mexico. He’s addressing the matter in his own style. Using 130 shipping containers, stacked two high and end-to-end, to try to fill a five-mile gap in the border wall where it runs through the Cocopah Indian Reservation near the city of Yuma. The gap, which follows the Colorado River, is a major spot for undocumented crossings.
“Arizona did the job the federal government has failed to do — and we showed them just how quickly and efficiently the border can be made more secure — if you want to,” Ducey said to celebrate installation of the containers, which block just under three quarters of a mile altogether. Hours before his announcement, several hundred migrants, mostly young families and elderly people seeking asylum, walked around the end of his wall to surrender legally to border authorities.
According to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, the erstatz wall if completed will do a much better job of blocking something else – jaguars. A few dozen jaguars live in Arizona and the border area, with more slowly moving back into their historic range, but thanks to freeways, walls, and habitat loss, their re-introduction has been incredibly slow.
“These useless barriers do nothing to stop people from crossing the border, but they’ll stop wildlife in their tracks,” said CBD-co-founder Robin Silver. “Unless Ducey wants his legacy to be driving Arizona’s most iconic animals to extinction, he needs to end this ridiculous waste of taxpayer money.”
The Cocopah Indian Tribe, on whose land this is happening, also has objected strongly to any wall. The tribe has members on both sides of the border, as their presence on this land long pre-dates the existence of any line.
Photo: Center for Biological Diversity