UPDATE: May 30, 2019: City officials in Sunland Park, New Mexico, where private group We Build the Wall constructed a roughly half-mile stretch of border barrier over the weekend, delivered a cease-and-desist order on Tuesday, CNN reported. The city said the permit application on file for the project is incomplete, and that the 18-foot-tall steel bollard fencing exceeds the six feet wall allowed by city ordinance.
We Build the Wall said the appropriate permits were filed and cleared by city inspectors before the weekend, dismissing the intervention as political intimidation. City officials maintain that the order is an equal application of law.
Founder Brian Kolfage told KFOX14 Wednesday that wall construction would resume Thursday morning for completion within the next two days. "There is nothing in the ordinances that this wall violates," he said, but added that any inconsistencies in documents were the fault of contractor Fisher Sand & Gravel.
WINNING!! @WeBuildtheWall was given the green light yesterday afternoon by the city of Sunland Park to resume construction, and our permits were re-issued. From the start We Build The Wall, Inc complied with all regulations as required by law as we stated.@JackPosobiec #Trump pic.twitter.com/XcUnMKvK3i— Brian Kolfage (@BrianKolfage) May 30, 2019
- A private group, We Build the Wall, has raised approximately $23 million, partially on GoFundMe, in order to fund construction of its own U.S.-Mexico border wall sections. This week, the group said it built an approximately one-half-mile to 1-mile barrier on private land near the Texas-New Mexico state line in just four days over the Memorial Day weekend, according to the We Build the Wall website.
- The stretch of 18-foot-high steel bollard fencing, which reportedly cost between $6 million and $8 million, closes a gap in an area that the group maintains has a high volume of illegal crossings. North Dakota-based Fisher Sand & Gravel constructed the wall.
- We Build the Wall, which said it will move forward with its second wall project in the near future, intends to sell the new section of steel fencing to the U.S. government for $1.
While supporters of President Donald Trump's border wall initiative have hailed the use of private resources to build stronger barriers between the U.S. and Mexico, some local officials have cried foul at the organization's efforts, according to The New York Times. The project is located within the city limits of Sunland Park, New Mexico, and the city's mayor told The Times that there was no valid permit for the project and that it violates a 6-foot limit on fence height. Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea said the city has issued a cease-and-desist letter demanding that additional work on the project be stopped.
Fisher, the contractor on the project, was one of the firms selected to build wall prototypes back in 2017. Since then, the company has argued that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Army Corps of Engineers are spending too much money doling out small stretches of border wall through their current procurement process. Earlier this year, Fisher offered to build a 234-mile barrier system along the U.S.-Mexico border for $1.4 billion.
Fisher also filed an official protest with the Government Accountability Office in April, maintaining that Army Corps' process for awarding almost $1 billion worth of work in New Mexico and Arizona was fundamentally unfair because it required border wall experience within the last five years and that only two companies — SLS Ltd. (SLSCO) and Barnard Construction — qualified under those conditions. Fisher followed up its protest with a lawsuit against the U.S. government. The Army Corps later admitted that the process was flawed and rescinded the smaller of the two contracts.
Those two projects were also temporarily halted last week by a federal judge in California on the grounds that the U.S. Department of Defense likely had no right to transfer funds intended to benefit military personnel into a counter-narcotics program and then into border wall construction. That case still has to make its way through the courts, and President Trump has promised an expedited appeal of the order to stop construction.