When we were discussing this a couple of weeks ago, I’ll confess that I was still remaining at least somewhat skeptical (hey… I’m a cynic at heart) while hoping for the best. The “We Build the Wall” GoFundMe project has been running a bit behind their projected schedule to begin construction, leading some to wonder where all the money they raised has been going and if the project would ever get off the ground. Well, allow me to offer my apologies for any doubts I may have harbored. The group recently announced the completion of their first border wall section. It’s gone up in a gap near the New Mexico border where federal agents have long complained of illegal aliens and drug smugglers plowing through in large numbers. (Washington Times)
A private group announced Monday that it has constructed a half-mile wall along a section of the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico, in what it said was a first in the border debate.
The 18-foot steel bollard wall is similar to the designs used by the Border Patrol, sealing off a part of the border that had been a striking gap in existing fencing, according to We Build the Wall, the group behind the new section.
The section was also built faster and, organizers say, likely more cheaply than the government has been able to manage in recent years.
Kris Kobach, a former secretary of state in Kansas and an informal immigration adviser to President Trump, says the New Mexico project has the president’s blessing and says local Border Patrol agents are eager to have the assistance.
It certainly looks pretty solid. At eighteen feet in height and with adequate lighting, it will be an imposing barrier to try to cross. As noted above, the group never claimed they would be able to cover the entire border, but this was a job that seemed well suited to their abilities. The wall is on private land and was welcomed by the owner. The CBP claims they’ve been seeing upwards of 100 migrants crossing the formerly open section each night. And as soon as one group of migrants draws off immigration officers as a distraction, drug smugglers start moving product through at another section of the gap.
With all the good news out of the way, we should be reminded of a couple of other lingering questions, however. The GoFundMe project has, to date, raised just over $22.5 million. They’re saying that this half-mile section cost around $8 million to build. To be fair, the group says that this gap section required a lot of dirt removal before they could start building and other areas will cost less. Fair enough. Let’s say that without the extra expense you could do it for five million. That means that they’ll be able to do this three or four more times at most unless new cash flows in.
I’m not discounting the work at all. There was an existing wall on the Texas side of the river and more wall in New Mexico they connected to. So this seems to truly be an area that saw a lot of illegal traffic that may now be largely shut down. I don’t know how many more gap sections on private land like this one have been identified, but if they exist this could be a very beneficial deal in terms of border security. We should welcome it.
But then I stop and think about the literally hundreds of additional miles of border requiring attention. If the most this group can complete is roughly three miles, we still have a long way to go. The private sector can’t handle this job alone and Congress needs to get off their collective butts and take action.