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Shipping container barrier construction continues despite hiccups

Posted at 3:16 PM, Aug 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-17 21:53:01-04

YUMA, AZ — Construction of the temporary border wall in Yuma continues, but not without its challenges.

On Monday a set of shipping containers, used as part of Arizona’s effort to close gaps along the border wall near Yuma, were found toppled over.

The governor’s office tells ABC15 that they believe the shipping container that fell over was not secured to the rest of the containers and was likely toppled over by people.

“We can almost guarantee that this was not weather related. This was not wind-related. Somebody actually in a vehicle likely pushed the containers over, in between construction teams going to and from on-site,” Tim Roemer, the Director with the Arizona Department of Homeland Security told ABC15.

Roemer says the on-site team was able to get the shipping containers back on and locked them into place.

“They are all locked in together, which makes it extremely unlikely that it could happen in the future,” he told ABC15.

Residents who live near the new shipping container barriers tell ABC15, regardless of the hiccups, they are thankful for the added security.

“I love it. I mean, It’s beautiful living here,” said Ricardo Banuelos who lives in Gadsden, near one of the new shipping container barriers.

Banuelos and his wife have lived peacefully in Gadsden for more than a decade.

“It’s a great place to live,” he added.

Though Banuelos says the last couple of years that peace was taken away from them, as migrants made their way into the U.S. through gaps in the border wall.

A wall built by the federal government.

“They try to hide and jump on the roof…you can’t go out of your house at night when you see that. You don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said when describing instances of migrants running into his property.

Banuelos owns one of the only homes that stands less than a quarter mile away from the border.

“There’s nights the dogs just bark all night. When they’re jumping back and forth, that’s the only damage they’ve been doing on my fence,” he said while showing ABC15 signs of damage.

He adds it wasn’t uncommon to see hundreds of migrants crossing per month, but now with the state’s construction of the shipping container barrier:

“As soon as they start, I only get two people come across,” he said.

Tim Roemer with the Arizona Department of Homeland Security says this is a step in the right direction.

“Arizona had to act now because the border crisis continues to get so far out of control,” Roemer added.

Roemer says 1,000 feet of barrier was completed in less than 72 hours.

“We’ve got plans over the course of the next few days we hope to be able to close about 3,000 feet of the gap and then we’ll reassess from there,” said the Director of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security.

Adding challenges will naturally come with this barrier wall.

“The cartels and the criminals will find ways to damage it,” he said.

He says whether that be by digging tunnels underneath the containers, building ladders to jump over them, or, “Specific examples of these individuals using blow torches to actually cut through parts of the steel,” said Roemer.

Roemer also tells ABC15 the state has a border security fund to fund the continued effort to close these gaps.

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to close all the gaps because there are 8 and 9 miles stretches in certain areas that we’re working on solutions for,” he added.

Banuelos, though, is just happy to be able to get peace back into his home.

“It’s helping a lot and you feel a lot more comfortable,” Banuelos told ABC15.

We reached out to the Biden Administration and U.S. Department of Homeland Security for comment.

We are waiting to hear back.