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.”
Trending Now on We Build the Wall News
Supreme Court Turns Away Environmentalists Trying To Stop Border Wall Construction
Another victory for national security & the border wall. This will help us as we continue the construction of our next projects if environmentalists come after us as they did at Project 2.
“The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from a coalition of environmental groups that pushed back against the Trump administration’s construction of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The groups, led by the Center for Biological Diversity, challenged a 1996 law giving the president authority to fight illegal immigration and border crossings, and limiting some legal challenges.
The coalition claimed that the Trump administration did not conduct sufficient environmental impact studies for the construction and that endangered species like the jaguar and Mexican wolf would be adversely affected by the barrier.
First, We Build The Wall, Inc was challenged on building our second border wall due to the claim that it would impact butterflies. Now, this. Perhaps we should just let the jaguars live along the border wall as a second layer of security?https://t.co/I6woZ1PSUV#BorderWall #KAG
— WeBuildtheWall (@WeBuildtheWall) May 14, 2020
They had asserted in their case that the law’s allowance for the secretary of Homeland Security to waive any laws necessary to allow the quick construction of border fencing violates the Constitution’s separation of powers. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals had dismissed the case, citing a prior case from 2007 with “a nearly identical context.”
“This Court finds that precedent persuasive, and it compels the conclusion that Plaintiffs’ complaint fails to state plausible constitutional claims as a matter of law,” the Circuit Court’s ruling said.”
Meanwhile they’re funding frivolous lawsuits against @WeBuildtheWall bahahaha keep donating to them, it goes to fund their legal bills!! #karma @DonaldJTrumpJr @mamendoza480 @cbs4rgv @AP @FogCityMidge @nababuterfly @NatButterflies https://t.co/bdvJ4rDjc9
— Brian Kolfage (@BrianKolfage) May 14, 2020
DONATE NOW TO BUILD THE WALL WITH BRIAN KOLFAGE, CLICK BELOW:
We Build the Wall, Inc.
PO Box 131567 Houston, Texas 77219-1567
Jennifer Lawrence – Communications Director
This Summer, We Continue With Our Fourth Border Wall Project
Good news, everyone. Not only is our third border wall project slated to begin soon (most likely in California), but our fourth project will be hot on its heels.
Here’s a message from our founder, Brian Kolfage, and Foreman Mike:
Foreman Mike’s announcement in the next step for We Build The Wall!
Foreman Mike is back at it again, this time with a big announcement in the next step for We Build The Wall! >> https://secure.webuildthewall.us/stopthesurge
Posted by We Build The Wall Inc on Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Thank you, to all the freedom fighters out there, both past and present, for your dedication to our country and the sacrifice that comes with defending all that we as citizens hold dear.
Let’s all pitch in to protect the nation and prove to Nancy Pelosi that our safety and sovereignty doesn’t depend on her:
Donate Today – Every dollar — just like every mile of border wall — matters:
CLICK HERE TO DONATE
You can even send a check to WeBuildtheWall, Inc., P.O. Box 131567 Houston, Texas 77219.