A private group that has raised over $22 million for partial construction of a wall along the US’ Southern border announced that the first section of the wall was completed in three days near the Texas-New Mexico border with a post on their Facebook page on Monday.
We Build The Wall, a group founded by a triple amputee USAF veteran Brian Kolfage, began a GoFundMe fundraiser in December 2018, just days before the US government shut down. Now, according to a series of social media posts on Monday, the group has started construction on private property in New Mexico and has already announced the completion of the first section.
Their announcement comes days after a federal judge blocked President Donald Trump from tapping into billions of Defence Department funds for his administration's wall construction efforts. Sputnik spoke to Brian Kolfage about this project and US immigration policy.
Brian Kolfage: This plan was originally started in December in frustration because we were promised as American citizens border security for a very long time, over 30 years about. And it seems our politicians were not taking it seriously. And the Democrats were about to take control of power here in the United States in January. And I thought maybe I can make a difference, maybe I can do something that brings the spotlight back on this border security and the wall. And I created the GoFundMe and it went viral and everyone started giving money and it is snowballing now. And instead of giving money to the government, which we learned we cannot do, we would just build a wall ourselves and then give the wall to the government which we can do. And we followed that promise to our donors and we got the job done.
Sputnik: Who was mostly donating to your campaign?
Brian Kolfage: The American citizens were donating. Most of them are Trump supporters and some of them aren’t Trump supporters. Some of them are just Americans who said they believe in border security. They don’t support the president but they do support border security. And they see the crisis that is going on our Southern border. And frankly, the American news, the American media isn’t covering as they should be. But there are a slight few people that realise what is going on.
Sputnik: How much does it cost to build your stretch of the wall?
Brian Kolfage: To build that part of the wall is between 6 to 8 million dollars. To build […] a lot of that cost was actually because it went up a mountain. And the US Army Corps of Engineers which basically overseeing the government law project. They told this landowner who owns the property that he couldn’t have a border wall, probably the government, because it was too difficult to build and it would be impossible. But that is where we came in and we showed the government that it is not impossible and you can build a border wall there. And this area that where we built at, border patrols told us that it was one of the worst areas on the entire 2000 mile border for smuggling drugs, for smuggling illegal aliens and also human smuggling and sex slaves. So this little hole, we have patched it and we are going to keep doing this and patching more holes along the border with donations.
Brian Kolfage: This part of the wall will be finished within the next couple of days.
Sputnik: Do you expect any opposition to your construction works?
Brian Kolfage: Yes, there is a lot of opposition. For one, we have the cartels, the Mexican cartels across the border, who we are cutting off their routes. So we have received many death threats against our team. There is also the political opposition, individuals who just want to stop what we are doing. If they learn where we build at before we actually start building, they will come down there and chain themselves up to our construction equipment and they will try to wreak havoc on what we are doing and stop it.
Sputnik: Has there been any reaction to your initiative from local authorities or the White House?
Brian Kolfage: No. There has been a lot of support from the local authorities. They are thankful. They were thanking. We have received messages. They are sick of the crime, they are sick of their properties being stolen. And the local police and the border patrol agents they are very, very supportive.
Sputnik: What about local citizens, just locals?
Brian Kolfage: Yes, the locals – we haven’t received any complaints. Really I am not seeing anything directly complaining to us. I have reports of people — I don’t know if they are local or not – but there are American citizens who want to rip the wall down that we built. But for the most part, it has been pretty positive.
Brian Kolfage: I think it is their right. This is the United States of America and everyone has a right. We believe in freedom. And I fought in the military and lost my legs. And that is their right to have to not like it, they can. I mean that is what this country is about. And I think if they don’t like it — that is fine. If they want to introduce something of their own, you know, I can not like it as well. But I think if we are doing something right and they don’t like it, it shows that this is a very important subject in the United States right now. I think it brings the conversation to the issue of we have a crisis going on. And it keeps it in the spotlight because there is a big crisis that we are seeing across the globe of migration, immigrants.
That is an issue that we have to deal with as citizens of any country. And it is time that our president and our leaders start putting the people over countries first and foremost because we have a lot of issues of homelessness. We have veterans, who fought in wars, who are homeless and we are not taking care of those people. And we are putting people who are not even citizens in front of them. And I think every country needs to take care of their own citizens first.
The views and opinions expressed by Brian Kolfage are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.