PEOPLE IN THE El Paso area were stunned to learn on Memorial Day that a new segment of border wall had just sprung up in their midst, seemingly out of nowhere. Though it is already hundreds of feet long and snakes up a high mountain, it was initiated secretly, in just a few days, on private property that for long has been so off-limits to the public that even reporters have feared going near.
The massive, imposing barrier is planned to be about a half-mile long. It’s being erected by We Build the Wall Inc., a crowdfunded effort spearheaded by ultra-right military veteran Brian Kolfage. In December, Kolfage called for people to donate for a privately funded border wall to be built on private land. He said his plan would bypass problems created by Congress, the courts, and legal opponents such as the American Civil Liberties Union.
Anti-immigrant hard-liners closely associated with Trump, including Steve Bannon, Kris Kobach, and Tom Tancredo, joined the effort as advisers. Jared Kushner also got on board. Kolfage started searching for private property on the border, and he found a piece near El Paso. But he didn’t find it by himself.
We Build the Wall’s search for land got help from the United Constitutional Patriots, or UCP, the armed vigilantes who made the news in April after videos revealed that they were capturing and terrorizing migrants near El Paso. Subsequently, the FBI announced that the group was implicated in a plot to assassinate George Soros, Barack Obama, and Hilary Clinton. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the UCP as a hate group.
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