UPDATE! We Build The Wall Inc. Has Been SHUT DOWN By The Corrupt City Government of Sundland, NM!
A privately funded organization called "We Build The Wall, Inc." began tweeting out pictures over the Memorial Day weekend of the first privately funded border wall construction on private land.
The groups GoFundMe campaign went viral when the group, headed by Veteran and triple amputee Brian Kolfage, first started campaigning to privately fund the Southern border wall in lieu of Democrat opposition to funding for the very popular effort. But, efforts seem to stall when the government advised the group that the federal government could not accept funds for a "specific project" and instead the funds collected would have to be entered into the general fund if donated.
Many people took a wait and see approach after this. But the Florida non-profit which includes former White House Chief Strategist, and former Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon as director, and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on the team as well, was not deterred and decided instead to launch a secret effort to build a private wall on private land. They accomplished one mile of that over this weekend and plan to sell the wall to the federal government for $1.
One mile of wall may not seem like a big deal, but this was an area the Army Corp of Engineers told the group could not be built on. The land is too "rugged". It has been left off the government's list because of this, but according to Kolfage, the government said in the past that the mountains were a natural barrier that would stop the flow of migrants.
'But it hasn't stopped anything,' he said. 'That's why decided to build here first.'
The section of wall that has just been built on a 10 foot wide section of land purchased from a private owner, is critical says former Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach who is also part of the group. He said in a Facebook interview that the section of fencing connects two sections of existing wall together.
"There was no barrier at all between the two countries in this section. There was literally a parking lot on the Mexican side, and a parking lot on the American side, and people would have to walk about 5 feet to cross into the country." Kobach said.
The section of wall was built on the border with Mexico from Sunland Park to El Paso, TX. The area just South of El Paso is one of the most crime ridden parts of Mexico that has seen the most violent battles between Mexican drug lords in recent years. You can read more about Mexico and the Chihijahua region in our FOCUS Mexico report. You can see in the aerial view to the left from Google satellite images, that the border wall abruptly stops between the U.S. and Mexico right in the middle of the Mexican city of Puerto De Anapra, with easy access to roads and railroads within feet of the Mexican town. Below, you can see where that is in relation to the border and El Paso, TX which is to the South East. The red box indicates the region where there is no wall, well, until now.
The newly built wall connects two 21-mile sections of fencing, closing the gap between an El Paso wall and another wall in Sunland Park. The gap, according to locals, has been a hotbed for human and drug trafficking. Steve Bannon told CNN
"Border Patrol told us it's the No. 1 most important miles to close"
"The tough terrain always left it off the government list. And that's what we focus on - private land that is not in the program and take the toughest first," Bannon continued.
"It was a ridiculously large gap that the smuggling of both people and drugs would go through." Kobach claimed. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection they apprehend over 930 people per day in this section alone.
The land where the wall is being built is privately owned, with the owner welcoming construction with open arms.
“They are doing an incredible job,” Jeff Allen, the property owner, said to CNN. “I have fought illegals on this property for six years. I love my country, and this is a step in protecting my country.”
The property owner was an entity called American Eagle Brick Company, a Texas business. Kolfage said the owner of that company is an Air Force veteran fighter pilot, who has dealt with theft and was eager to get a border wall up after 'the federal government said they wouldn't and couldn't do it.'
That owner finally got his wish, after turning over control of the stretch of land to We Build the Wall Inc. The agency's wall is generally 25 feet tall, depending on the section, according to Kolfage.
The steel portions of the wall are 25 feet tall, but we built the base up with stone in some areas, so it can be roughly 30-40 feet tall, as it goes up the mountain,' he said.
'It's made of all-weather steel which could last for centuries. It costs more up front but the overall cost of not having to be replaced in the near future is better in the long run.'
Kolfage said the wall being built by the US government is being made with steel that is not all-weather and will rust.
"Our wall is far superior to the government wall," Kolfage said.
The wall ends at cliff on the mountain where you would have to be an expert mountain climber get across from Mexico into the US, Kolfage said.
'We also opted for a technology package that includes a fiber optic sensor in the ground that can detect digging and even people touching the wall. There will also be cameras mounted on the wall,' he said.
'We're paving a road for border control with outlook centers at the top of the mountain, as well.
According to the Daily Mail, Kolfage estimated that the total cost of the wall built over the weekend to be between $6 million and $8 million.
'The wall itself cost about $2 million,' Kolfage said. 'Construction was right around $2 million, and we had to clear a mountain. The biggest cost was earth moving on this project. If we were working on flat land it would have cost about $3 million to $4 million for the mile.'
By that estimation, the organization could afford to build about two more miles of border wall under similar circumstances, based on its total contributions received to date of $22,372,736.
If Kolfage is correct about lower costs for building on flat land, the group could build another three-and-a-half miles of wall with its current donations of strategically placed fencing.
Why Did The Group Seem To Disappear?
After their initial viral fundraising campaign, the group seemed to disappear off many people's radar. The project seemed to be stopped when government officials advised that they would not be able to take the donations for a "specific project". But, that did not deter the group and they actually used it as cover to construct the project in almost "secret" in order to avoid liberal groups from stepping in and trying to delay the project with court filings and using up the groups precious resources to fight it.
"There are a lot of different groups opposed to what we're doing that would have just had to file an injunction against the property owner and that would have delayed the build," Kolfage said.
"We also didn't want to risk an international incident so we wanted to keep it tight-lipped until it was completed," he continued. Bannon added, 'We had to catch them by surprise". And a surprise it was. After 10 days of earth moving that was required to lay the groundwork, Dustin Stockton, Co-founder of We Build the Wall, Inc. told The Associated Press. Crews headed up by construction mogul Tommy Fisher, of Fisher Industries, began the building of the wall Friday night.
A Secret No More
Kolfage told DailyMail.com that this build has been approved by Trump and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
'We're talking with DHS and trying to get permission to build inside the Roosevelt Easement, and if that works out, we could build the entire wall from New Mexico to California with private donations,' he said.
Kolfage said Kobach is handling all discussions with DHS. Below you can see the view from the Mexican side of the border, and just how close and open it is. The wall went up and it went up fast. The organization says the wall they are using is similar in design to what the government is using but it is better quality and will last longer; but they can do cheaper. The group has no plans to bid on any government contracts for construction, and prefers to stay private using private funds to supplement Donald Trump's plan.
News of the first project also gives Kolfage and other leaders of the group relief from reports earlier in May that questioned why construction had not yet begun. Kolfage had long maintained organizers had to keep details of the project quiet to protect the safety of the landowners involved.
The founder of the group pushed back against the “haters” in a Monday Twitter post: “All the haters said it was impossible!! Bahaha where ya at now?”
What's Next For We Build the Wall, Inc.?
Now, that the nay-Sayers have been proven wrong, the group that already raised over $22 million in mostly small private donations, is likely to see a resurgence in private funding. But, their revelation is also likely to be a double-edge sword that will bring additional scrutiny from those on the left who seek to oppose them and their efforts to reduce illegal immigration, human trafficking, and drug smuggling along the Southern border.
"We'll keep on building as long as people keep chipping in. The average contribution has been only $67 but so many people have chipped in," Kobach told Fox News.
All of this comes just after a federal judge has blocked President Trump from building key sections of the border wall with money he secured from his National Emergency declaration, at least temporarily.
U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr.'s order, issued Friday, prevents work from beginning on two of the highest-priority, Pentagon-funded wall projects — one spanning 46 miles in New Mexico and another covering 5 miles in Yuma, Arizona, according to Fox News.
Another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us on a section of the Southern Wall that is already under construction. This is a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking. We are asking for an expedited appeal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2019
President Trump fired back from Japan vowing to request and expedited hearing to correct the incompetent ruling. As with nearly every decision that the President has made, the left has challenged this in court, and will likely have to go all the way up the chain as the others before.
But, Kobach is not deterred. They have plans already for their second project. They are sure to keep that project under wraps as well. He says, "We have letters of intent to build more border wall, but we're not releasing locations in advance. We're going to keep chugging along and raising money and supplementing the president's plan." Now, that the secret is out, they will need your donations more than ever! You can follow them on their website at https://webuildthewall.us/, on twitter at Twitter, and on Facebook.
The Story In Pictures
The Associated Press, Fox News, The Daily Caller, The Daily Mail, and We Build The Wall, Inc. contributed to this story