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Privately funded border wall built at El Paso: ‘Why wouldn’t we allow it?’ land owner asks

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USA TODAY: EL PASO, Texas — A private group has built a $6 million bollard-type wall at the border on private property near El Paso, Texas with funds raised from a GoFundMe account.

The segment of wall was paid for by the “We Build the Wall” organization on land owned by American Eagle Brick Company. It is by Monument One — an official marker at the spot where New Mexico, Texas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua converge.

The company’s co-owner Jeff Allen confirmed that the wall was being built on his property.

“Why wouldn’t we allow it?,” Allen asked. “We have dealt with illegals coming across. We have been attacked by illegals coming across. We have been burglarized by illegals. We have drug traffickers coming through here and anyone who is against this is against America.”

Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state known for his hard-line immigration stances, announced that the wall was nearly complete on Memorial Day, calling it a gift to America.

Kobach is general counsel for We Build the Wall. He has been mentioned as a possible pick by President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

“It was important to us to make the announcement today, on Memorial Day,” Kobach told the El Paso Times during a tour of the site. “This wall is all about securing our border and our nation, so it is fitting, and we worked hard to get it built this holiday weekend. This is us trying to give America a present for Memorial Day.”

He later added, “We built the wall and then hand the keys to the Border Patrol and say ‘Here. Happy Memorial Day.'”

Reached Monday, U.S. Border Patrol officials said that they could not immediately comment on the privately built wall.

‘We Build The Wall’ GoFundMe

The “We Build The Wall” project was started by a U.S. war veteran, Brian Kolfage, and is being led by a group that includes Kobach and former White House strategist Steve Bannon.

The Go Fund Me page calls the project “Trump approved.” As of Monday afternoon, it had raised more than $22 million of its $1 billion goal.

The section of the wall being built in the El Paso area will cost between $6 million and $8 million, Kobach said.

The wall spans an area of about a half-mile near Mount Cristo Rey in Sunland Park, New Mexico, that was not covered by existing government fencing — a decision that was made at least partially because of the rough terrain.

Kobach said Border Patrol agents in the area have told him that hundreds of immigrants have crossed there illegally and more than $100,000 worth of drugs has been smuggled through the gap.

Gap in barrier at Sunland Park, NM

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol, does not provide statistics on specific areas of land, but has reported an increase in apprehensions of immigrants, primarily families, in the El Paso Sector, which covers West Texas and all of New Mexico.

Groups of hundreds have turned themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents just past where the fencing ends in Sunland Park, including a group of 300 who crossed the same night Trump held a rally in nearby El Paso.

Ninety percent of all illegal narcotics that enter the United States cross through the southern border, according to the CBP; however, most seized illegal drugs pass through the ports of entry.

“It is a half-mile, but it is a half-mile that is so important,” Kobach said. “I would argue that this half-mile is much more important than building 20 or 50 miles out in the desert, because of very few people are crossing in the middle of the desert. But here, you are this metropolitan area and so easy for people to swarm through this gap. This half-mile area has much more of an impact than you would think.”

The privately funded wall, which is expected to be completed Wednesday, is more than 20 feet tall and goes up a 300 foot incline over mountainous terrain. It extends 7 feet into the ground.

It includes sensors and lights that will go off when triggered by anyone crossing the area, Kobach said. The group will give control of the sensors to U.S. Border Patrol agents, he said. Although, the group has not discussed those plans with the agency yet.

Average donor gave $67, Kobach says

The wall is being paid completely by the GoFundMe campaign created by the group in December. Kobach said the average donor gave about $67, and more than 265,000 donated.

“The GoFundMe just took off with $20 million in 20 days,” Kobach said. “This shows collectively how we the people can say, ‘You know what, this isn’t rocket science. We can solve this problem.’ And when a whole bunch of people chip in money, you can accomplish something like this.”

While the El Paso wall will use about a third of the money raised so far, Kobach said the remaining money will be used to build a similar wall in another area along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Kobach declined to say where the next segment of wall will be built, to protect the identity of the owner of that property.

About the privately built wall

The privately built wall is similar to the $73 million bollard wall constructed by the U.S. government in April 2018 along the U.S.-Mexico border in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

However, Kobach said the private group’s wall is made from weathered steel and would last 50 years longer than the “mild” steel used on government fencing.

The U.S. government wall is between 18 and 30 feet tall, depending on the terrain, and has anti-scaling plates at the top to make it more difficult to climb over, U.S. Border Patrol officials said at the time a groundbreaking ceremony was held for start of the construction.

The privately built wall is being constructed by Fisher Industries of North Dakota, Kobach said.

The Washington Post reported that Trump had encouraged the Army Corps of Engineers to consider Fisher for the government’s border wall contract.

El Paso leaders react

Some El Paso leaders were upset about being the focus of outside efforts at border security.

“It’s deeply disturbing when outsiders, like Kris Kobach and Steve Bannon, come in and use our community and people as a backdrop to further their racist agenda,” U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar said in a statement. “It’s even more disturbing that a business in our community is furthering this xenophobic narrative. While this wall may be necessary fuel for the president’s political campaign, it will not prevent people from seeking asylum.”

She also noted the business ties between Trump and the company building the wall.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said he was not completely informed about the privately funded border fence, but he said national interests have often failed to include local leadership in their plans.

“I don’t know that these isolated random situations will create even more of a division between us in our own community,” Samaniego said of the often strong feelings that come with discussions of a border wall.

The city and county of El Paso have called on the federal government to reimburse the local governments for services provided to immigrants seeking U.S. asylum, he noted.

“That collaboration that should be taking place would solve so many (issues),” he said. “It’s almost embarrassing how the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing in the country.”

City Rep. Peter Svarzbein said the Monument One area represents “our values and history where the border is uninterrupted by the wall.”

“I’ve gone numerous times, brought visitors from out of town (to) see and take in the historical and cultural significance without a border fence,” Svarzbein said. “It’s a federal park. I am concerned about public access to remain for this federal park that highlights the best of the values, culture and history of our community here on the border.”

He added, “I think anybody would hate to see their home as-a-made for TV prop for anybody’s political campaign.”

Svarzbein also questioned the need for a wall in the area saying that the U.S. Border Patrol already has a large presence in the area.

National emergency funds for wall blocked

The private construction of the wall comes as U.S. Border Patrol officials have said that the U.S.-Mexico border is at a “breaking point” because of the large influx of immigrants coming to the U.S. seeking asylum.

According to the official figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in April, the Southwest border area has seen more than 460,294 migrants detained in the 2019 fiscal year, which began in October.

CBP officials said May 10 that the number of migrants caught illegally crossing the border had exceeded 109,000.

United Constitutional Patriots have been camping out and patrolling an area of the border in Anapra, New Mexico for a few months. Mark R Lambie, El Paso Times

Trump declared a national emergency in February to allocate government funds for his barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, after Congress rejected his request for $5.7 billion for the wall.

A federal judge last Friday partially blocked the president’s plan to fund his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border — a move that the White House will likely appeal.

Approximately $1 billion was blocked. The money was to come from funding the White House planned to transfer from the Department of Defense under the president’s national emergency plan, according to a preliminary ruling. In addition, the Trump administration was blocked from constructing barriers in areas near El Paso and Yuma, Arizona.

The ruling, from Haywood Gilliam Jr., of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, however, does not prevent the Trump administration from allocating funds from their other sources.

Kobach said the “liberal court” blocking the White House’s border wall efforts make his group’s private projects even more necessary.

“Now more than ever we need it because we have a liberal court decision that stopped President Trump from building in some the areas with the National Emergency Funds,” Kobach said. “So, we the people need to step and do this private action to supplement what the federal government is doing. It really needs to be all hands on deck.”

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Border Patrol Agents Seize Over $765K Worth Of Narcotics In Rio Grande Valley

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Via CBP:

“EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande City agents seized more than 950 pounds of marijuana in two separate incidents.

Sunday evening, Rio Grande City agents working near La Rosita, Texas, responded to a report of a vehicle involved in narcotics smuggling traveling north from the Rio Grande. Agents in the area located the vehicle and, shortly thereafter, the driver of the vehicle abruptly turned south and traveled towards the river. As agents approached the river, they observed the driver abandon the vehicle and swim to Mexico. Agents searched the vehicle and discovered 571 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $457K.

A short while later, Rio Grande City agents on patrol received information of a narcotic smuggling attempt near Garciasville, Texas. As agents responded, they observed an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) abruptly turn around and travel south towards the Rio Grande riverbank. Upon arrival, agents discovered the ATV abandoned carrying several bundles of marijuana. The marijuana weighed 387 pounds and is worth an estimated $310K. Agents searched for the ATV rider and additional narcotics to no avail.

The public is encouraged to take a stand against crime in their communities and report suspicious activity at 800-863-9382. ”

DONATE NOW TO BUILD THE WALL WITH BRIAN KOLFAGE, CLICK BELOW:

CHECK DONATIONS:
We Build the Wall, Inc.
PO Box 131567 Houston, Texas 77219-1567

The official wall fundraiser & construction site is at www.webuildthewall.us
Follow Brian Kolfage on Twitter HERE
Like his verified Facebook page HERE

Contacts:
Jennifer Lawrence – Communications Director
media@webuildthewall.us
Cell: 845-800-1552

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Border Patrol Agents Arrest Mexican Mafia Member For Human Smuggling

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Good! Give him the maximum sentence!

CBP is reporting:

“EAGLE PASS, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Eagle Pass station arrested a Mexican Mafia member during a failed human smuggling attempt, Oct. 2.

Agents assisted Maverick County Sheriff’s deputies on a traffic stop in Eagle Pass and discovered three illegal aliens concealed in the back seat of the vehicle. The driver and front-seat passenger, both U.S. citizens, and the three illegal aliens were arrested and taken to the Eagle Pass South Station for processing.

“We enjoy an excellent relationship with our local law enforcement partners” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz. “I applaud the Maverick County Sheriff’s Deputies and our agents, who worked together to stop a convicted felon from smuggling illegal aliens into our communities.”

The driver, identified as Juan Alberto Garcia, 39, is a self-admitted member of the Mexican Mafia and has an extensive criminal history. Garcia has multiple felony convictions throughout Texas for drug-related offenses and other crimes including assault, burglary and theft. He and the front-seat passenger will both be charged with 8 USC § 1324 – Alien Smuggling, and face up to 10 years in prison.

The illegal aliens apprehended, two from Ecuador and one Guatemalan national, will be processed in accordance with U.S. Customs and Border Protection guidelines.”

DONATE NOW TO BUILD THE WALL WITH BRIAN KOLFAGE, CLICK BELOW:

CHECK DONATIONS:
We Build the Wall, Inc.
PO Box 131567 Houston, Texas 77219-1567

The official wall fundraiser & construction site is at www.webuildthewall.us
Follow Brian Kolfage on Twitter HERE
Like his verified Facebook page HERE

Contacts:
Jennifer Lawrence – Communications Director
media@webuildthewall.us
Cell: 845-800-1552

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