Posted on December 14, 2019

Border Patrol Agents Detain Undocumented Immigrants Near a Section of Border Wall Privately Built by Steve Bannon’s Non-Profit in Texas

Lauren Edmonds, Daily Mail, December 11, 2019

U.S. Border Patrol agents detained a group of undocumented immigrants caught near part of a privately-built border wall in Texas on Wednesday.

The incident took place near Mission, a city that sits less than a half hour from the Mexican border and 45 minutes south of  the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement El Hidalgo Detention Center.

Photos show Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents chasing after the group of immigrants across a dirt road and into a nearby section of tall grass.

It appears the agents ventured into the shrubbery to apprehend at least one man attempting to cross into U.S. soil.

Other images shows CBP agents escorting the group to a parked US Border Patrol truck where they sat on the ground and leaned against the vehicle while agents processed the scene.

Some of the group were given solar blankets to keep warm while they waited.

It is unclear how many people were detained by CBP agents, but photos show at least 10.

The portion of the border wall is funded by the hardline immigration group, We Build The Wall, on privately-owned land near the Rio Grande River.

The group is led by Steve Bannon, the former chief of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and White House Chief Strategist.

Bannon claims the group has raised tens of millions of dollars in a GoFundMe drive to build sections of the border wall.

Triple-amputee veteran Brian Kolfage, who founded the We Build The Wall non-profit, told that the group constructed a mile-long section in May.

He said: ‘It’s just under one mile long. The wall starts at the Rio Grande River and goes up Mount Cristo Rey where the US Army Corps of engineers said it was impossible to build.’

Kolfage says that section cost between $6million and $8million to make, but they will sell it to the federal government for only $1.

Although Kolfage says We Build The Wall’s contribution had been approved by Trump and Department of Homeland Security, the DHS says the project is ‘not connected to DHS efforts.’

According to their website, $25million have been pledged and raised, 35 miles have been built and there have been around 500,000 donors.

In September, around 811,000 migrants had been stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border as the Customs and Border Patrol said that illegal crossings are at a 13-year high.

If the number of border stops continue to increases, CBP shows that they are on track to surpass levels reached in 2005 that saw more than one million people ceased.

The number of stopped migrants was at its highest since 2006 in May, with 132,887 detained – including 11,507 unaccompanied children.

Trump publicly credited Mexico and Central American countries with helping cut the number of border arrests by nearly 60 percent over the past few months.

The president previously declared the crisis a ‘national emergency’ and during his first year in office the number of migrants apprehended fell to 303, 916.

However, those numbers have continued to steadily rise since 2017.

Since Trump’s crackdown on immigration, he and other government officials have received backlash for their handling of detention centers.

Images of young children kept in fenced off containers and an examination of detention centers’ resources, including beds, feminine hygiene products and toothbrushes, have made him a target of advocacy groups.

In August, 19 states led by California filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration and DHS for their subpar standard of living for migrant children.

‘The children described their time in CBP facilities as filled with uncertainty, since most of them were not told how long they would be kept in detention or what would happen to them next,’ the lawsuit read.

One girl describes to investigators she went as long as 10 days without being offered a shower, even when she was on her period.

She was reportedly only given one sanitary pad a day.

The children describe the facilities as ‘freezing’ and only being given ‘aluminum’ blankets for warmth.

Children who came in with extra clothes had their items confiscated by immigration officers who refused to return the clothes even if children asked.

Detention centers are reportedly so crowded that children are not able to get adequate sleep because ‘there was not enough room for everyone to lie down at the same time’.

The investigation also reveals that children in detention centers do not have consistent access to soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes, toilet paper, private bathrooms and other basic sanitary needs.

The investigation was conducted by an Investigation Supervisor in the Civil Rights Division