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First-ever private border wall built in New Mexico

First-ever private border wall built in New Mexico

Postby smix » Mon May 27, 2019 8:26 pm

First-ever private border wall built in New Mexico
Washington Times

URL: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/20 ... ew-mexico/
Category: Politics
Published: May 27, 2019

Description: A private group announced Monday that it has constructed a half-mile wall along a section of the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico, in what it said was a first in the border debate. The 18-foot steel bollard wall is similar to the designs used by the Border Patrol, sealing off a part of the border that had been a striking gap in existing fencing, according to We Build the Wall, the group behind the new section. The section was also built faster and, organizers say, likely more cheaply than the government has been able to manage in recent years.

we-build-the-wall.jpg

Kris Kobach, a former secretary of state in Kansas and an informal immigration adviser to President Trump, says the New Mexico project has the president’s blessing and says local Border Patrol agents are eager to have the assistance. “We’re closing a gap that’s been a big headache for them,” said Mr. Kobach, who is general counsel for We Build the Wall. The announcement comes at a critical time for the border. Mr. Trump’s plans to build hundreds of miles of new and replacement wall took a hit late last week when a federal judge ordered a halt to part of his emergency declaration and shifting of money within the Pentagon to make up for Congress’s refusal to grant him the money he wanted. Judge Haywood Gilliam says the president can’t spend money when Congress has debated it and refused to approve it. Enter We Build the Wall, which says now that it’s proved it can build border wall. The group has eyes on other areas where private landowners hold border lands and want a barrier to cut down on the illegal traffic across their property. The new wall begins at the Rio Grande and runs up to the lower elevations of Mount Cristo Rey. The wall on the Texas side ends at the river, and there used to be a gap on the New Mexico side running from the river over to Mount Cristo Rey. Two parking lots, one on the Mexican side and one on the U.S. side, with naught but a ditch to separate them, offered a convenient staging point for would-be migrants. Mr. Kobach says agents have told him perhaps 100 migrants a night cross — but the bigger problem is that they would cross, gaining agents’ attention, then drug smugglers would use the distraction to run drugs through elsewhere in the gap. A typical night could exceed $100,000 worth of drugs through the gap, Mr. Kobach said. Construction began Friday and will be completed Tuesday. Tommy Fisher’s Fisher Sand & Gravel did the construction. Mr. Fisher has been in the news recently with Mr. Trump suggesting repeatedly and publicly that the government should consider his outfit for future border wall construction. He was one of the contractors selected in 2017 to build wall prototypes in San Diego. None of those prototypes was deemed contract-worthy, and Congress has forbidden the Border Patrol from using any of those designs anyway. More recently, Mr. Fisher announced he could build 234 miles of fencing at $1.4 billion — or about $6 million per mile. That’s about a quarter of the cost of Mr. Trump’s current fencing, which goes off at about $25 million per mile. The half-mile in New Mexico cost $8 million, but Mr. Kobach said because part of it involved building on Mount Cristo Rey and involved moving a lot of dirt, that’s more expensive than most mileage would be. A private wall has been a dream of border security enthusiasts for years. More than a decade ago, adherents of the Minuteman movement, which sought to draw attention to the lack of border barriers in Arizona, constructed some fencing on a ranch in southeastern Arizona. The fencing was approved by local authorities as a way to corral cattle but was also seen as a way of blocking illegal migration, The Arizona Daily Star reported in 2006. Organizers said funding didn’t materialize to finish that project. The new wall in New Mexico is up along the border and designed just like the Border Patrol’s structures, intended to be a deterrent to illegal crossing.
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New Mexico Mayor Orders Group Building Border Wall On Private Land To Stop Construction

Postby smix » Wed May 29, 2019 8:19 pm

New Mexico Mayor Orders Group Building Border Wall On Private Land To Stop Construction
Newsweek

URL: https://www.newsweek.com/new-mexico-may ... op-1437760
Category: Politics
Published: May 28, 2019

Description: The mayor of Sunland Park, New Mexico, has issued a cease-and-desist order to a private group that raised millions to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The wall is being constructed by We Build The Wall, a private organization which began a GoFundMe fundraiser in December 2018 when President Donald Trump faced opposition from Congress in receiving a proposed $5 billion to construct the barrier. To date, the group has raised over $22 million of a $1 billion goal, of which the group's leader, Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, said has been established only because that is the highest monetary allotment that GoFundMe allows for a fundraiser. The cease-and-desist order was issued on Tuesday after it was determined that the group did not have the proper permits for construction, city spokesperson Peter Ibardo told The Texas Tribune. “The city has not provided any permits, it has not approved of the construction that has gone up already. They built the structure without authority or any building permits from the city," Ibardo said Speaking to KTMS, Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea added that the wall is also in violation of city ordinances that regulate how tall a structure can be. Perea said that the application for construction were never returned to the city by American Eagle Brick. The company owns the land where the wall was partially constructed over the Memorial Day weekend, the Tribune said. Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who sits on the advisory board for We Build The Wall, told the Tribune that the land owner obtained the proper permits needed for construction and that inspectors were present at the build site prior to the start of the build. However, Ibardo disputed the statement, telling the newspaper that while an application form was filed, it was incomplete and no permit was issued for construction. Inspectors who attempted to visit the site last week were not allowed to do so, he added. Kobach told the Tribune that construction for the half-mile length of wall a few miles from El Paso, Texas, cost between $6 and $8 million. The section of wall marks the first construction project from the group which previously faced controversy as donors questioned if the promised project would ever materialize after months passed with no updates on the progress of the wall. "There is no update because we are remaining silent for a very good reason. You all will have the best present very soon. Remember powerful people want to stop our progress, so to not tip anyone off we are radio silent!," Kolfage wrote on his Facebook page in response to the questions from donors. "The (American Civil Liberties Union) would file a lawsuit to impede our wall success if they knew where and when. But when I guaranteed we'd build the wall I meant it, and we are working with many congressman and senators to help us mitigate these issues from the left-wing attack groups. We are in the homestretch and it's on a need to know basis." Kolfage said in a Facebook post Monday that the group is currently working on plans for a second wall, though he did not give a location or a time period when donors could expect to see construction begin. Speaking to KTMS, Kobach said that the organization plans to turn the wall over to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol once construction is complete. "They can use it how they see fit," Kobach said, adding that the wall is equipped with lights and underground sensors. It is unclear if construction has halted on the wall, KTMS reported that contractors expected to complete installation of the barrier on Wednesday.
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Trump supporters build US-Mexico barrier

Postby smix » Wed May 29, 2019 8:47 pm

Trump supporters build US-Mexico barrier
BBC News

URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48438032
Category: Politics
Published: May 28, 2019

Description: A group of Trump supporters has begun building the first privately constructed US-Mexico border wall after a crowd-funding campaign. US military veteran Brian Kolfage posted a picture of the steel fence going up in the state of New Mexico. He said it was being erected with more than $22m (£17m) in donations he raised through an online campaign last year. The fundraiser was launched as Congress refused President Donald Trump funding for his signature campaign promise. Mr Kolfage, an Air Force veteran, triple amputee and Purple Heart recipient, tweeted a series of videos and images showing the new barrier on Sunday. "WE MADE HISTORY! The first crowdsource funded international border wall!" Mr Kolfage wrote on Twitter. The barrier is being built through his nonprofit organisation WeBuildtheWall Inc, which he set up after organising a GoFundMe campaign in December entitled We The People Will Fund The Wall. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is chairman of WeBuildtheWall's advisory board. Mr Bannon told CNN the new private barrier would link two 21-mile sections of existing fencing. Kris Kobach, a former Kansas secretary of state who is now general counsel for WeBuildtheWall, told CNN the privately built section would cost up to $8m. The group has hired Fisher Industries, a North Dakota-based contractor that Mr Trump had argued should be appointed to build the wall, according to the Washington Post. Trump supporter Jeff Allen, 56, said the barrier is being built on land he co-owns in the city of Sunland Park, New Mexico, across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He said the section, about half a mile long, would be finished by the end of the week.



Mr Allen told AFP news agency: "This is Americans' way of saying, 'Congress, you're worthless, and we're fighting it. We're going to build [the wall] ourselves.' "This is not Europe. This is America. We protect our borders." He denied hating immigrants, saying he is married to a Mexican woman, and his daughter was born in Ciudad Juarez. "This is not about racism," Mr Allen told AFP. "This is about me protecting myself, and America having a secure border. "If people want to immigrate, they should go to a port of entry and apply." WeBuildtheWall said it was just the beginning of its mission to secure the US southern border. "Buckle up, we're just getting started!" the group wrote on Facebook. US Customs and Border Protection told the BBC: "This project is not connected to our efforts. "Please reach out to the company leading construction for any information related to their endeavour." Last week a court blocked a plan by the Trump administration to channel defence department funds to build a border wall. A federal judge granted the injunction against the use of $1bn in Arizona and Texas because it had not been approved by Congress.
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Private border wall construction halts after New Mexico town protests

Postby smix » Wed May 29, 2019 11:42 pm

Private border wall construction halts after New Mexico town protests
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1SZ2LP
Category: Politics
Published: May 29, 2019

Description: TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) - A U.S. group building what it claims is the first private wall on the Mexican border wall on Wednesday said it had stopped construction after a New Mexico town ruled the project lacked necessary permits. Sunland Park, New Mexico, on Tuesday ordered We Build the Wall to stop erecting the steel barrier on private land in an area that the group calls “ground zero for illegal drugs, migrants and human sex slaves coming across.” Sunland Park is located in the southeast corner of New Mexico, on the Mexican border and about 9 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas. The group on its website, in describing its mission, says: “If the Democrats won’t provide the funding for what the American people voted for in 2016 then we the people will.” The group’s list of members of its advisory board and various committees and operations includes Erik Prince, the former Navy SEAL who founded the controversial private security firm Blackwater; former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach; and former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, among others. It has raised over $23 million on its gofundmepage and vowed to resume construction. “We just stopped last night,” Kobach, the group’s general counsel, told Fox Business. “We’ll be providing some more information to the city this morning. We’re hoping to continue very soon.” Around half a mile of the steel fence sprang up over the Memorial Day weekend on land owned by American Eagle Brick Co. The company’s owner, Jeff Allen, declined to comment. The wall is being built to close a gap between fencing in the El Paso, Texas, section of the border that is popular with Central American families who have been entering the United States in record numbers to seek asylum. The gap gained widespread attention after a paramilitary group released videos in April showing its members stopping hundreds of illegal border crossers. Fisher Sand & Gravel, a North Dakota company that put forward proposals for Trump’s border wall, is building the 18-foot-high structure. Kobach said the project was 80 percent complete. Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea said the landowner submitted a building application but it was “incomplete” and the matter had been referred to the city’s municipal court. “The city ordinance only allows a wall up to 6 feet tall and this far exceeds that,” Perea told reporters. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said the wall did nothing to enhance border security or deal with the humanitarian crisis on the border. “To act as though throwing up a small section of wall on private land does anything to effectively secure our southern border from human- and drug-trafficking or address the humanitarian needs of the asylum seekers and local communities receiving them - that’s nonsense,” she said in a statement.
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