Border wall on private property hailed by immigration hardliners but NM city says it’s not permitted

Thursday, May 30, 2019
By Paul Martin

Alfredo Corchado,

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. – The newly built section of border fence is only half a mile long, but its construction has this city on the Texas border on edge.

The section of fence is part of the “We Build the Wall” campaign that has raised more than $22 million through crowdfunding. The campaign is led by allies of President Donald Trump, including former administration senior adviser Steve Bannon and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, both immigration hardliners.

Kobach said construction for the project will cost between $6 million and $8 million. He said the group is already looking at other projects, including in Texas.

But Sunland Park’s mayor said this fence on private property apparently didn’t get a proper city permit and is higher than allowed.

Mayor Javier Perea said at a news conference Tuesday that the more than 18-foot fence surpasses the city’s maximum allowed height of 6 feet.

The wall is “not in compliance with city ordinance,” he said. He later ordered a cease-and-desist order. Wall organizers said they had been given the go-ahead and hinted at legal action if necessary.

Trump has made a wall — which he said would be paid for by Mexico — his hallmark promise and the slogan, “Finish the Wall,” his reelection theme. Congress, however, has not provided any new money to build a wall, other than to allocate funds for maintenance.

“Building a half-mile of wall here is far more important than building 20 miles of wall in the middle of the desert where nobody is crossing,” said Kobach, who said he also serves as a legal adviser for We Build the Wall. He said the group has the “blessing” of the president and described Trump as very pleased with the group’s efforts.

A federal judge recently temporarily blocked the administration from using billions in funds not appropriated by Congress for wall construction. Trump rejected the decision, calling the judge an “Obama judge” and stating it was “a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking.”

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