Andrew Hay, Reuters, May 29, 2019
A U.S. group building what it claims is the first private wall on the Mexican border wall on Wednesday said it had stopped construction after a New Mexico town ruled the project lacked necessary permits.
Sunland Park, New Mexico, on Tuesday ordered We Build the Wall to stop erecting the steel barrier on private land in an area that the group calls “ground zero for illegal drugs, migrants and human sex slaves coming across.” Sunland Park is located in the southeast corner of New Mexico, on the Mexican border and about 9 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas.
The group on its website, in describing its mission, says: “If the Democrats won’t provide the funding for what the American people voted for in 2016 then we the people will.”
The group’s list of members of its advisory board and various committees and operations includes Erik Prince, the former Navy SEAL who founded the controversial private security firm Blackwater; former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach; and former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, among others. It has raised over $23 million on its gofundmepage and vowed to resume construction.
The wall is being built to close a gap between fencing in the El Paso, Texas, section of the border that is popular with Central American families who have been entering the United States in record numbers to seek asylum.
Fisher Sand & Gravel, a North Dakota company that put forward proposals for Trump’s border wall, is building the 18-foot-high structure. Kobach said the project was 80 percent complete.
Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea said the landowner submitted a building application but it was “incomplete” and the matter had been referred to the city’s municipal court.
“The city ordinance only allows a wall up to 6 feet tall and this far exceeds that,” Perea told reporters.