One Arizona sheriff has threatened action against those contractors helping Governor Doug Ducey (R) to build a wall along the state’s southern border with Mexico.
For over four months, Ducey has facilitated the construction of a makeshift border wall by using shipping containers to fill in gaps in the wall constructed under former President Donald Trump. The shipping container project has largely been successful. The areas around Yuma in the southwestern region of the state, which has long been a hot spot for illegal immigrants and drug smugglers crossing into the United States, were fortified back in August. Now, during Ducey’s final days in office, the project continues apace through Cochise County, which is located in the southeastern corner of Arizona.
However, one sheriff in charge of a border county in between the two has threatened those who want to place those shipping containers in his jurisdiction. Sheriff David Hathaway of Santa Cruz County calls the entire project “illegal.”
“This whole project is illegal,” he recently stated. “It’s illegal on the federal level, the state level, and the local level.”
From Hathaway’s perspective, those who participate in building the shipping container wall are not much different from those committing violent crimes, such as murder and grand theft auto.
“It’s not state land, it’s not private land, and the federal government has said this [is] illegal activity,” Hathaway said, echoing talking points of the Biden administration. “So just the way if I saw somebody doing an assault or a homicide or a vehicle theft on public land within my county, I would charge that person with a crime.”
Not only is the makeshift wall illegal, Hathaway said, but those constructing it are committing other crimes that endanger his community. Hathaway claimed that many of the truck drivers transporting materials to construct the wall elsewhere are “barreling through town,” ignoring stop signs, and “flying past children,” the Intercept reports.
“I’ve advised my deputies to especially scrutinize that area looking for speed violations, reckless endangerment, reckless driving,” Hathaway added.
Sheriff Hathaway has even aligned himself with activists in his community who are attempting to thwart progress on the wall. A handful of protestors, who insist that the shipping containers threaten human and environmental safety, have attempted to disrupt further construction. Hathaway expressed admiration and support for their efforts, which he called “very valiant” and which he compared to “a Tiananmen Square-type situation.”
Thus far, the shipping containers have not encroached on Santa Cruz County, so there’s little that Hathaway can do as sheriff. However, the wall inches ever closer to his jurisdiction. There are shipping containers placed in Cochise County within six miles of its border with Santa Cruz County.
Hathaway is also optimistic that the shipping container wall will end once Ducey leaves office. Democrat Katie Hobbs was declared Ducey’s successor in the election last month, and Hathaway stated that he has already been in touch with members of her team.
Hathaway also posted to Twitter images of two different meetings he had with Hobbs in August while she was on the campaign trail.