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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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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