As the Trump administration struggles through its own longstanding plans to build a border wall blocking off Mexico, some private Trump supporters have taken matters into their own hands. A group called We Build the Wall, led by veteran Brian Kolfage, has been participating in the construction of a portion of border wall this week that is privately led — and in direct violation of now two court orders for those behind the project to stop. The Guardian reports that construction continued as late as Friday, days after the first order, which came on Tuesday.
Suspiciously enough, a Border Patrol vehicle was “parked close to the bulldozers” that the Guardian observed this past week, suggesting some government complicity in the blatant court order violation. The publication shares:
‘On Thursday and Friday, within three days of a temporary restraining order being issued, the Guardian found construction crews with at least 10 heavy machinery vehicles moving soil, digging trenches and positioning tall metal posts along the US bank of the Rio Grande in Hidalgo county, which forms the border with Mexico. A 3.5-mile, privately-funded concrete barrier is planned on the site, near Mission, Texas.’
The local sheriffs’ office’s Sam Pena says builders “have told us that they are not going to stop.” It follows a wall construction project by the same group in New Mexico.
The concerns underlying the orders demanding that WBTW and its allies stop include the effects of the wall on a local butterfly sanctuary that hosts hundreds of native species of butterflies and birds and the effects on local water flows that could, if Kolfage’s group gets its way, end up in violation of a decades-old treaty with Mexico. As the Guardian explains, the planned entirely concrete wall could “act as a dam” and redirect destructive floodwaters to the wildlife sanctuary and elsewhere.
The stretch of wall in question is situated in between where the Trump administration has planned its own wall and Mexico proper; it’s on land owned by the company Neuhaus and Sons LLC. Topping it off — former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon himself actually serves on the board of WBTW, and the organization’s efforts boast a high profile beyond that point, too. They accumulated a whopping at least $25 million from supporters hoping to pitch in on the construction of some wall, which in its concrete form, will be like what Trump was initially promising before switching to the present plan of steel bollards suspended between top and bottom concrete panels.
Suspiciously, in the case that the federal government brought against the wall backers over the possible looming treaty violations with Mexico over the effects on the Rio Grande River, it came out that WBTW, millions and all, is only providing about five percent of the funding for the project. In other words, there’s yet another gross financial mismanagement scandal afoot in Trump World.
National Butterfly Center lawyer Javier Peña noted that WBTW is “either misleading its donors, which is fraud, or lying to a federal judge.” Add it to the list of similar Trumpian behavior!
On his own time, the president is still pursuing the government’s wall through means like redirecting billions of dollars from the military for the project.