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

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.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.