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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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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