A non-profit organization to fund Donald Trump’s border wall between the United States and Mexico has built its first mile-long section of wall.
The wall, which spans just under one mile in length, went up over the weekend on private property running next to El Paso, Texas, through Sunland Park, New Mexico.
“It’s over a half mile long,” said Brian Kolfage, general counsel for We Build the Wall. “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 said once everything is said and done, his organization will sell the wall, which cost between $6 million and $8 million to build, to the federal government for just $1.
“We’re going to sell this wall to them for $1 and release the title to them,” he said. “We can’t give the government the money because that’s not the way it works. But we wanted to show the American people how to get this job done.”
Asked whether the new construction connects to existing fencing, and whether anyone from US Customs and Border Protection has been advising the group or telling it where to build, Roger Maier, a CBP spokesman, said the “project is not connected to our efforts,” adding that any questions should be directed to the construction company behind the private project.
El Paso’s elected officials have made their opposition to any such wall known for some time.
Last fall, they advocated against one proposed wall near El Paso’s downtown in a resolution that dubbed it “a symbol of hate to our friends, allies, trading partners, and families in Mexico.” Their signed resolution argued that such a wall would only increase the federal deficit and divert critical resources needed elsewhere.
U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D), who represents El Paso’s 16th Congressional District, lambasted this weekend’s construction efforts as “disturbing.”
“It’s deeply disturbing when outsiders, like Kris Kobach and Steve Bannon, come in and use our community and people as a backdrop to further their racist agenda,” she told The El Paso Times in a statement. “It’s even more disturbing that a business in our community is furthering this xenophobic narrative. While this wall may be necessary fuel for the president’s political campaign, it will not prevent people from seeking asylum.”
The U.S.-Mexico border is nearly 2,000 miles long.
Of that, roughly 1,279 miles are unfenced, according to The Center for Investigative Reporting.
Advocates behind “We Build the Wall” aim to complete something that Trump has struggled to start himself and originally said Mexico would pay for.
A federal judge in California last week issued a temporary injunction that blocks the use of Defense Department funds to build a border wall, which has been one of Trump’s top campaign promises.
The $1 billion eyed for the wall’s construction was not appropriated by Congress, the judge ruled.
Trump has said he will appeal the decision.