EDITORIAL: Private Effort To Build A Wall Might Offer Solution To Border Debate
Feb. 26–The long-running national debate about building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is kicking into high gear again this week.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, a vote is expected today on a resolution to block Trump’s recently declared emergency declaration. In case you live under a rock and missed it, the president used his power to declare an emergency as a way to get more money for his promised border wall.
The Democrats cannot stand the prospect of Trump getting his way on this one, so they are expected to fight it tooth and nail.
But the battle raging in Washington, D.C., might be a moot point when it comes to building certain portions of the wall.
That’s because a private group is forging its own way forward, enrolling a growing list of landowners who own property along the southern border.
They seem determined to see it through, and it’s not clear if anyone — including Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer — can stop them.
This private effort is being led by a nonprofit called We Build the Wall Inc. and it’s been able to collect $20.8 million in donations in just two months.
Before we go any further, we must say we are not taking sides on the wall fight. We are simply pointing out what We Build the Wall is doing and what some landowners on the border are saying: We want a wall.
Brian Kolfage, a triple-amputee Air Force veteran, is founder and president of the group that also includes names like Steve Bannon, former presidential adviser, and Kris Kobach, a former state official from Kansas well-known for his hardline immigration views.
According to last week’s update by Kolfage at webuildthewall.us, the effort is rapidly gaining steam.
Kolfage said he and his group “have been out to Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas multiple times meeting with landowners and state/local officials … we have identified a minimum of 7 pieces of land in these border states to begin building on, and I am flying to meet with these landowners to commence our first big land agreement which will allow us to begin the process to build. IT’S HAPPENING!”
He also points out his group has the blessing of President Trump and could likely build segments of a wall “mile by mile in strategic locations” for half or even less than it would cost the government.
Kolfage says he’s enlisted customs and border patrol professionals for guidance, plus experts in legal, engineering, maintenance, contracting, and other fields.
“We now have land locked and loaded and will break ground before Dems give you 1 penny to build,” Kolfage said in a recent tweet to President Trump.
No matter how successful We Build the Wall might be and no matter if you agree with the mission or not, perhaps we owe the organization a bit of gratitude for showing us a way forward on this controversial topic.
When certain landowners — or cities, or counties, or states — want a wall, why should they be denied one, especially when the funding is in place? (In this instance, from private sources.)
The reverse is true as well. If most residents in a particular city or county or state along the border are adamantly opposed, maybe a barrier structure should not be erected on the public’s dime.
It’s not the dramatic conclusion you might have envisioned.
But it sounds like a reasonable compromise that can at least start us on the path to a resolution while alleviating some of the divisiveness around this issue that has proven poisonous to our democracy.
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