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Tribe: Arizona Built Border Barrier Against Its Wishes

September 06, 2022 (1 min read)

Elliot Spagat, Associated Press, Sept. 3, 2022

"The Cocopah Indian Tribe said Friday that the state of Arizona acted against its wishes by stacking shipping containers on its land to prevent illegal border crossings. The tribe determined that the state put 42 double-stacked containers on its land near Yuma, said Michael Fila from its office of emergency management. The tribe wrote state officials Tuesday to inform them of their findings and concerns. Fila said the containers block half of a two-lane road, closing a “vital evacuation route.” The containers pose other safety concerns, including if the containers fall, Fila wrote. Two containers toppled during construction last month for reasons that are unclear. “The integrity of the road itself has subsequently been damaged by the heavy machinery that was used in placing the shipping containers” and created the danger for first responders to get stuck, Fila said in an email shared with The Associated Press. The tribe told state officials at a meeting Aug. 17 that it didn’t want the barriers and is waiting on a response to its findings, said Jonathan Athens, a Cocopah spokesman. “We had made it clear before that we did not want the containers on our land,” he said."