The Florida military veteran who raised more than $23 million to privately fund sections of tall fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border completed a roughly half-mile stretch of fencing in New Mexico last week.
Brian Kolfage, a former U.S. Air Force senior airman and Purple Heart recipient who lives with his family in the Panhandle city of Miramar Beach, said the border fencing will curb the flow of illegal immigrants.
“We plugged the hole of the worst smuggling route on the entire border!” he said on Twitter. “We cut them off.”
He said the construction cost between $6 million and $8 million.
But within days of its construction, the fencing seemed to do little to deter immigrants, some of whom walked around the private border to access Sunland Park. The mayor there said the border fencing, built on private land, would likely funnel immigrants to other, unblocked sections of the border.
News of the completed fencing comes a week after Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat announced her office would investigate consumer complaints lodged against Kolfage’s group, WeBuildtheWall Inc., which is incorporated in Florida using a Panama Beach address.
Kolfage created the We the People Will Build the Wall GoFundMe page in December, with a $1 billion goal. At the time, Kolfage had planned to gift the money to the federal government, but the Treasury Department informed him that any money transferred to the government would be put into a “general use” fund.
GoFundMe said in January that it would refund the millions of dollars of donations after Kolfage created his WeBuildtheWall nonprofit to receive GoFundMe contributions, although donors were given a choice to decline the refund and transfer their donation to the nonprofit.
That appears to have done little to stop Kolfage’s momentum.
“The one thing I’ve learned after losing three limbs in war is that NOTHING is impossible, and just as so many said ‘you can’t do that’ or ‘building the wall privately is impossible’ our team just proved them all wrong!” he posted on the GoFundMe page. “It’s now up to We The People to ensure that we protect this nation for future generations.”
© 2019 Miami Herald
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