Border Patrol has begun dropping off groups of migrant family units at small Arizona towns in the Sonoran desert without resources to receive them. A total of 54 migrants have been dropped off in Ajo, and dozens more in Gila Bend.
More than two dozen CBP officers in full riot gear blocked several northbound vehicle lanes at the port of entry in downtown Nogales. The officers were conducting a routine training exercise, but failed to notify anyone that they were doing so.
A broad coalition of environmental groups, civil rights activists, and Native American tribes released a report calling for the Biden administration to remove 59 miles of border wall in sensitive areas such as wildlife corridors, areas of natural beauty, and sites with tribal significance.
The Biden administration has asked contractors to submit bids for maintenance on “tactical infrastructure” in the Tucson sector, which includes concertina wire in Nogales put up during the Trump administration.
No More Deaths and Coalición de Derechos Humanos, two Arizona-based humanitarian groups, released an extensive report condemning Border Patrol for its emergency response efforts on the border. The report details negligence, hostility, and outright discrimination on the part of Border Patrol over the past 20 years and recommends the end of the agency’s predominant role in search and rescue.
- In Tucson, Arizona, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf tells reporters that painting the new border wall would protect it from rust and the elements, prolonging its “useful life” of about 30 years. Wolf did not address the cost of the potential project, which could range from $500 million to $3 billion.
- Two pickup trucks disguised to look like vehicles associated with border construction are stopped by Border Patrol agents in Arizona. CBP finds 16 people in one truck and 4 in the other. The 20 migrants had paid $1,000 each to be smuggled to Tucson.
- U.S. Senator Krysten Sinema criticizes the Trump administration’s plans to divert $3.8 billion from defense programs, stating it jeopardizes “the safety and security of Arizona service members and Arizona jobs.” The cuts include $156 billion for the F-35 program, including aircraft housed at the Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix and the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma. $1.3 billion will also be cut from the National Guard and Reserve Equipment budget, which primarily funds the 162nd Test Center in Tucson.
- To prepare for border construction in the Tucson sector, contractors are blasting portions of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It is an area lauded as one of the nation’s “great ecological treasures” and a place of spiritual significance for multiple indigenous groups. U.S. Congressman Raúl Grijalva expressed that despite CBP using an environmental monitor during the blasting, he has “zero faith that [DHS’ monitor] will do anything to avoid, mitigate, or even point out some of the sacrilegious things that are occurring and will continue to occur.”
- Cochise County in Arizona hosts one of the rural county’s largest-ever political demonstrations against border wall construction near the San Pedro River. Wildlife migration, sensitive habitats, undeveloped landscapes, and limited water resources will all be harmed, activists contend, as the government waives dozens of federal environmental and cultural protections that typically trigger thorough studies before construction. Despite this, construction continues in the San Bernardino Valley with 6 miles of noncontiguous fencing completed and construction imminent at the San Pedro River.
- The Washington Post reports that President Trump’s border wall will most likely require the installation of storm gates to prevent flash floods during the monsoon season in Arizona. Migrants and smugglers have taken advantage of these open, unmanned gates in the past in remote regions of the border.
- CBP awaits a decision from U.S. District Judge David Bury, as a seven-day trial wraps up over temporary holding conditions for migrants apprehended in the Tucson sector. The case arose from a lawsuit from a coalition of groups suing over miserable conditions in CBP custody despite an earlier injunction mandating minimal standards. CBP custody should not last more than 72 hours, but during fiscal year 2019, of 63,490 people apprehended in the Tucson Sector, one in five (12,030 total) was held longer than 72 hours.
- Arizona House Majority Leader Warren Petersen (R) proposes House Bill 2084, which would allow private property owners along the border to build walls without safety inspections or compliance with local building codes. To date, no Arizona county or city has sought to block a landowner from building a wall on their property. Tom Belshe, executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, says Peterson’s proposal is under review, but in general, “cities oppose any efforts by lawmakers to preempt local control.”