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U.S. orders GoFundMe border wall that raised $23 million to keep its gate open
The viral “We Build the Wall” GoFundMe campaign has hit a snag in the first leg of its construction. Due to its blockage of a federal monument and construction of the wall moving onto federal property without proper permitting, the privately built border wall is being ordered to indefinitely keep its gates open rendering it effectively useless.
After raising nearly $24 million on GoFundMe, the campaign was able to complete a half-mile stretch of wall near the U.S. and Mexico border in the town of Sunland Park, New Mexico. The campaign’s creator is Brian Kolfage, a triple-amputee war veteran who began the project in an effort to combat illegal immigration and drug smuggling.
In their haste to build the wall, the project organizers failed to obtain the required permits to build on federal land. It was also determined that the wall would prevent the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) officials from accessing a levee and a dam on the land, according to BuzzFeed News. The wall also blocked public access to Monument One, the first in a series of obelisks outlining the U.S. and Mexico border from El Paso, Texas, to Tijuana, Mexico. As a result, the IBWC ordered “We Build the Wall” to keep a gate within the wall indefinitely open.
“They think they can build now and ask questions later, and that’s not how it works,” said Lori Kuczmanski, a spokesperson for the IBWC, to BuzzFeed News.
This is not the first road bump “We Build the Wall” has hit in its roadmap. In late May, the operation received a cease-and-desist order after officials determined that an application for a permit was incomplete. Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea told reporters that work on the wall was allowed to continue after permit issues had been cleared up within the week.
“The No. 1 most important mile to close,” said Steve Bannon of the area near Sunland Park. The former Trump administration strategist currently sits as advisory board chair for We Build the Wall. However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in a statement concerning the private venture said that the wall project is “not connected to our efforts.” The area also happens to be where a right-wing militia vigilante group known as the United Constitutional Patriots live-streamed the capture of immigrants and published them onto Facebook.
We Build the Wall is registered as a non-profit in Florida. The high amount of public missteps from We Build the Wall has spurred the state to open an investigation into the $24 million crowdsourced campaign.
Kolfage took to Twitter to complain and assign blame as to why We Build the Wall was running into these roadblocks.
The IBWC commissioner @harkjay350 has a bad habit of leaving gates open on our border.last week she left open this gate! largest invasion on record 1000 crossed at once! she just locked our gate wide open for illegals to invade America! pic.twitter.com/9Bb8omu395
— Brian Kolfage (@BrianKolfage) June 11, 2019
“[The IBWC] just locked our gate wide open for illegals to invade America!” he tweeted on Monday.
- Visa applicants now have to hand over their social media information
- Facebook is still letting border militias organize on its platform
- Steve Bannon is the newest face of the GoFundMe border wall
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H/T BuzzFeed News
Ignacio Martinez is a journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin and an intern at the Daily Dot. His work has appeared in the Texas Observer and on the airwaves at KVRX 91.7 FM.