EL PASO — A private organization supported by some of President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters announced Monday that it constructed a short section of border fence over the weekend.
The group, We Build the Wall, used money raised from a GoFundMe account to construct about a half-mile of barrier on El Paso’s west side that it said will close a gap used by smugglers and undocumented immigrants to sneak across the border. The group has raised more than $20 million so far.
“It is almost done,” former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said during an interview with Fox News on Monday morning. “We are standing in the gap and building the wall.”
Kobach and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon are listed on the group’s website as part of the leadership team. Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage started the organization.
The barrier is reportedly being construction close to the Mount Cristo Rey statue near the Texas-New Mexico state line across from Mexico. The El Paso Times reported the land is owned by American Eagle Brick Co., whose owner, Jeff Allen, confirmed the construction. He told the publication that anyone who is against the construction is “against America.”
Kobach said the barrier isn’t made with the “run-of-the-mill” steel the government uses, which needs to be replaced every 25 years. Instead, the group used “all-weathering” steel that lasts three times as long, he said.
The construction started the same day a federal judge blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to build his long-promised wall with funds that were not appropriated by Congress but instead were . shifted from other departments, including the military.
In the Fox News interview, Kobach cited that ruling as a big reason why the group’s efforts are necessary.
“We hear the sad news recently that a liberal federal judge is blocking the federal government from building part of the wall. That’s why it’s all the more important now ... that American citizens step forward like they have already,” he said.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.