Crowdsourced Border Wall Hits a New Obstacle

A city ordinance, not liberal tyranny.

A construction worker watches as a section of a privately funded border fence is moved in Sunland Park, New Mexico.Cedar Attanasio/AP

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A monthslong effort to build a crowdfunded private border wall hit a new stumbling block Tuesday when the city of Sunland Park, New Mexico, sent a cease-and-desist order claiming builders did not have the necessary permits for the barrier.

“Liberals trying to intimidate us! SOUND THE ALARM,” tweeted Brian Kolfage, the Air Force veteran and conservative media fixture behind the viral GoFundMe campaign. Kolfage said that officials visited the building site last week and “gave…[the] green light to build.”

https://twitter.com/BrianKolfage/status/1133504853861392384

At a press conference Tuesday, Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea refuted Kolfage’s claim and said the owners of the property had failed to submit a survey or site plan for the wall, adding that “city ordinance only allows a wall up to six feet tall and this far exceeds that.”

Kolfage started the We the People Will Build the Wall crowdfunding campaign in December after President Donald Trump failed to secure $5 billion in border wall funding he had demanded from Congress. Kolfage’s stated goal was to raise $1 billion in order to fund a private wall along the US-Mexico border.

When the effort fell more than $975 million short of its fundraising goal, Kolfage organized a nonprofit called “We Build the Wall, Inc.” to build parts of the wall on its own. The group says it has completed a half-mile section of wall and Kolfage claimed it was already deterring migrants from crossing the border. 

Kolfage, whose history of peddling fake news led Facebook to ban him from the platform, went on the attack Tuesday afternoon. He called Sunland Park officials corrupt and claimed the holdup was orchestrated by Mexican cartels. Mother Jones has yet to determine whether cartel kingpin El Chapo infiltrated the city zoning board himself or left that task to a subordinate.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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