As President Donald Trump continues aggressively pushing towards funding and approval for his proposed border security, more than 200,000 people are doing what his administration cannot: building the wall. Late last year, veteran Brian Kolfage vowed to get the wall built through GoFundme and this week he’s made good on that promise. In a remote and particularly harsh section of the New Mexico desert — near the El Paso, Texas state line — construction crews have broken ground on a border wall that has been entirely funded by U.S. citizens.
Since the page went live five months ago, 267,372 people have donated more than $22 million for the border wall. Their ultimate goal is to raise a billion dollars to finish construction on the entire border wall project. “It’s amazing to me how crowdfunding can successfully raise a lot of money and how many Americans care about this,” Kris Kobach, former Kansas secretary of state, told CNN. Kobach is also on the general counsel for this project called “We Build the Wall.”
While citizens are funding the project, high profile people are very much involved in overseeing it. Aside from Kobach, former White House adviser Steve Bannon is also serving on the board. “Border Patrol told us it’s the No. 1 most important miles to close. The tough terrain always left it off the government list,” Bannon told CNN. “And that’s what we focus on — private land that is not in the program and take the toughest first.”
Klofage, an amputee veteran of the Air Force and the visionary behind the project, said they could build the wall for a fraction of what the Trump administration is requesting from the Congress.
“We are still calculating the cost of building on every piece of land that a private landowner would allow us to build your wall on and other lands we could potentially acquire or build on,” Klofage states on his crowdfunding page. “We currently have the resources to begin building several segments that will stretch across several miles of the border, but our goal is to keep fighting until the ENTIRE border is secure. If we have to raise billions to get the job done, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Last week, a federal judge blocked Trump from using federal emergency funds to build portions of the border wall in New Mexico and Yuma, Arizona. So, while the president cannot secure government funds for his wall, there’s nothing that prevents U.S. citizens from doing it themselves.