In the eight months since President Donald Trump promised that “I will get it built” during his State of the Union speech, there have been no official additions to the wall completed on the southern border of the United States...much less the start of "a big one that really works" across Colorado, as Trump suggested last week.
But there is a new, unofficial, one-mile barrier on the border, built by We Build the Wall Inc., a nonprofit organization that grew out of veteran Brian Kolfage’s Build the Wall campaign, which originally planned to give the money it raised to the feds for their own building project.
“Of course, that’s idiotic,” says former Colorado congressman, big-government critic and eternal lightning rod Tom Tancredo, who was subsequently appointed to the We Build the Wall advisory group.
Instead, We Build the Wall is using any donations to build the wall itself; after reorganizing early this year, it had $21 million in its coffers, and fundraising efforts continue.
Tancredo has been on a few fact-finding missions to the border, and saw that one of the biggest obstacles was finding land adjacent to the border where the group could build a wall; much of the property was already in federal hands. And even if a private owner wanted a wall, “you have to get all these permits,” he notes. “The government doesn’t have to do any of this.”
But We Build the Wall finally found an available stretch, in Sunland Park, New Mexico, right where Texas, New Mexico and Mexico meet. “It really does happen,” says Tancredo. “I’m not like Trump here; they really do meet.”
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The landowner was tired of his property being overrun by immigrants, Tancredo explains, and while the U.S. Border Patrol had told the owner that building a wall on his challenging terrain would be too expensive, We Build the Wall took it on.
“The border patrol says it’s the best barrier on the border,” Tancredo says. “I am absolutely proud of it. I’m almost hoarse from talking about it on the radio.”
Whereas Trump had estimated that a new wall along the border would cost $19 million per mile, Kolfage’s group is shooting for $7 million. Could that same bargain technology be applied to building a wall across Colorado, as Trump suggested?
Replies lifelong Coloradan Tancredo: “If I could figure out a way to keep out Californians, I would do it.”