The United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) on Tuesday locked We Build the Wall's privately funded U.S.-Mexico border wall gate in Sunland Park, New Mexico, into an open position because the gate is on federal land, the agency said in a press release.
- The agency said the private gate blocks a government levee road and prevents USIBWC workers from performing required maintenance and operations on a nearby dam. The gate, the commission said, had been locked since June 6, so the agency had no choice but to break We Build the Wall's padlock and open it.
We Build the Wall and the agency later announced they reached an agreement to lock the gate at night because of "security concerns." The USIBWC said it is also awaiting additional information related to the permit application We Build the Wall filed with the agency.
The commission said that when We Build the Wall first applied for a permit, the agency asked the group more than once to relocate the gate because it was placed in such a way that it might funnel undocumented immigrants into the dam area, potentially threatening the security of both dam property and workers.
We Build the Wall has raised about $24 million to pay for construction of its own border wall segments. The first one in Sunland Park is approximately one-half-mile to 1-mile long, and contractor Fisher Sand and Gravel was reportedly able to substantially complete the wall over the long Memorial Day weekend. Fisher used 18-foot-high steel bollard fencing for the project, which cost between $6 million and $8 million. Before starting the small wall project, Fisher offered to build a 234-mile system of barriers along the U.S. southern border for $1.4 billion.
This is just the latest skirmish between advocates of a border wall and its opponents. But usually the battles are waged in the halls of Congress or in courtrooms, particularly after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency so that he could use military funds to pay for wall construction.
In the latest news, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked the siphoning off of funds originally intended for military counter-narcotics programs, but the Department of Justice has appealed that ruling. In addition, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled against the U.S. House of Representatives in legislators' attempt to block the administration's use of Pentagon funds for wall construction under a national emergency. The House has appealed that decision.