January 2020 Report:
The First Year of We Build the Wall Was an Extraordinary Success
The Non-profit corporation We Build the Wall was founded in January 2019 by Brian Kolfage. In just one year, We Build the Wall accomplished what many said was impossible, making history in the process.
The Completion of the First-Ever Privately Constructed Border Wall
After four months of extensive research on the border, discussions with many private landowners, and consultation with border patrol officers, We Build the Wall selected the site for Project One. The objective was to build a section of border wall that would have a major impact in stopping the flow of illegal immigration and drug trafficking across the border. We Build the Wall identified what was arguably the most significant gap in the El Paso Sector—the wide open section of border in Sunland Park, NM, on the east side of Mount Cristo Rey, located where the border fence that separates El Paso, TX, from Ciudad Juarez ended. In a typical night, more than 100 migrants and more than $100,000 in drugs would be trafficked through this gap. The property owner of the site suffered constant theft and the threat of violence. We Build the Wall also learned that the Army Corps of Engineers had left this half-mile gap open because the Army Corps believed that the terrain was too difficult to build on.
We Build the Wall decided to get the job done. We Build the Wall hired Fisher Industries to build the barrier—with the objective of building state-of-the-art border barrier faster and more economically than the federal government has done. Beginning on Memorial Day weekend, our builders worked literally around the clock. And within two weeks, the project was completed—including not only the barrier, but also a paved road and lights. We Build the Wall had constructed an imposing 18-foot tall steel bollard fence that was superior to existing structures built by the federal government. It climbed 210 vertical feet and ended with an impressive observation post at the top of the slope. It was made of all-weathering steel with an 80-year lifespan, rather than the typical mild steel with a 25-year lifespan. It also included a paved border road, rather than the normal dirt road, as well as stadium-quality LED lights, rather than the normal unlighted barriers.
The impact of this new border structure was immediate and undeniable. Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf called it a game changer. The Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector Chief echoed this sentiment, saying that it has changed everything for Border Patrol officers in the sector.
The Beginning of Project Two
In late November 2019, We Build the Wall teamed up with Fisher Industries to begin work on Project Two. Fisher Industries wanted to demonstrate a better way to defend the border region along the Rio Grande River and asked We Build the Wall for help in financing the project. This border barrier will be more than three miles long in Mission, TX, in the McAllen metropolitan area. It will run along the banks of the Rio Grande River, in contrast to government-constructed barriers along a levy that is 0.5 to 1.5 miles away from the river. Shortly after construction began, temporary restraining orders were sought by the National Butterfly Association and the International Boundary Waters Commission. The plaintiffs claimed that the barrier may obstruct the flow of the river—an assertion that is being rebutted in ongoing litigation. As of this writing, the issue is being litigated in federal court.
Public Education Campaign
When We Build the Wall was incorporated, it had two stated missions: building privately-funded border wall, and educating the public to unite people behind the goal of building border wall on the southern border. This second mission was also advanced in 2019. We Build the Wall hosted town hall events in the Tucson area, Cincinnati, and Detroit. We Build the Wall also hosted a Symposium at the Wall at the newly-constructed Project One border wall. At that event, we brought together the country’s foremost experts on illegal immigration, border security, wall construction, and other related topics.
Chief Executive Officer
We Build the Wall was founded by Brian Kolfage. A triple-amputee Air Force veteran, Brian gave up three limbs in service to his country in Iraq. And during the first year of We Build the Wall’s existence, Brian gave to the organization his time and boundless effort to accomplish what many said was impossible—building the first crowd-funded section of border wall in U.S. history. As We Build the Wall enters its second year, starting on January 3, 2020, Brian will be taking on the formal position of Chief Executive Officer of We Build the Wall and will be compensated for his tireless work on what has become the focus of his career. Under Brian’s leadership, We Build the Wall is moving into its second year with unwavering determination to continue building privately-constructed border wall.
Planning for Project Three
Planning is already underway for our third section of border wall. We are not making the location of this site public yet, but extensive background work has already occurred. Like the location of project one, project three will be at a high-impact location. Building a barrier at the site will once again change the game for the better so that the Border Patrol is able to more effectively combat the smuggling of migrants and drugs.
The Department of Homeland Security & CBP Chief endorse and give highest praise to We Build The Wall for “Changing the game”
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Calling the privately-built border wall in Sunland Park, New Mexico, a “game-changer,” some Department of Homeland Security officials say they’re open to efforts to reduce smuggling and other illegal activity.
“I welcome all that want to be part of the solution,” said Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf during a visit to El Paso on Wednesday. He was responding to a question from reporters about efforts by a private organization to build a chunk of border wall in South Texas.
“Obviously, when you’re talking about a border wall system you have to do that in close connection with CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection), the Army Corps of Engineers and the like. The requirements that they have are pretty robust. … It has to meet certain requirements,” Wolf said. “So if there are going to be private entities that do that, we want to make sure that we’re talking to them.”
Gloria Chavez, El Paso Sector Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, said the wall strategy is critical for the safety of her agents and so they can do the job more effectively.
“The border wall structure is a critical tool for our enforcement strategy … whether it’s privately own or government-owned, I welcome it because I know it’s a proven concept. … The border wall works,” Chavez said during Wolf’s tour of her sector.
Addressing We Build the Wall’s privately-built structure in Sunland Park, Chavez described it as very effective.
“This current private wall that was built, from what I have heard, has been very effective. In the condition that it is it gives us the all-weather road, it gives us the bollard-style type wall, it gives us lighting and it gives us the technology that we need to detect any type of entry coming into that area,” the El Paso Sector Chief said.
She added that in that half-mile stretch of border her agents previously dealt with “a lot of illegal activity” including the smuggling of Brazilian migrants as well as some violent acts.
“When that wall got built, everything changed for us and we were able to manage border enforcement actions there even better. Did (migrant activity) shift? Yes, absolutely — to an area we were able to work it more effectively,” Chavez said.
We broke ground on project 2 in Hidalgo County Texas, just outside of McAllen. The project is 3.5 Miles long along the river bank and will be the first wall of its kind built in a floodplain.
Using advanced engineering and dynamic hydrology modeling Fisher Industries developed a wall system that would easily withstand flooding and storms. Additionally, was designed to meet the site specifications for local wildlife. All animals were taken into account during the design and modeling phase.
We have launch our Plans & Programs section on the website so our donors can further understand how we are spending the money we raise. It’s important to understand that as a 501c4 we are now a social welfare organization, and must impact the social welfare of communities.
Please read our plans and programs here .
We are on the cusp of breaking ground on Project #3 which will be miles of wall as Project #2 is taking longer than expected with paperwork. But we have 2 projects simultaneously in the works.
As we approach the end of the fiscal year we are beginning our required external audit to comb over all financials in preparation to file our IRS Form 990 in 2020.
Thank you for all your support and we will continue to update you here announcements.
To the supporters of We Build The Wall:
Today marks the 10 month point since the inception of We Build the Wall, and I wanted to update you on our progress.
As you know, we completed our first major wall section in Sunland Park, New Mexico, in June 2019. We constructed a state-of-the-art, 18-foot-tall, steel-bollard border barrier that blocked one of the worst human- and drug-smuggling corridors in the El Paso Sector. The construction of this barrier immediately altered the entire region’s flow of illegal drugs and illegal migrants coming into the United States. We have received an incredible outpouring of heartfelt thanks and support from local Border Patrol and other law enforcement officers who have corroborated the effectiveness of your border wall.
It has been an incredible journey being able to help citizens of our country. We knew that the situation on the border was bad. But working on this project in Sunland Park and seeing the drug smuggling corridors made clear that the border security crisis is even worse than we thought.
As you may remember when we formed the We Build the Wall 501c4 organization, we took on an important mission in addition to building sections of border wall. As I announced on January 11, 2019, “Our mission is to unite private citizens that share a common belief in providing national security for our Southern Border through the construction, administration and maintenance of physical barriers inhibiting illegal entry into the United States.” Uniting citizens who share our interest in border security requires reaching to like-minded citizens and educating the public about the need for border barriers. With those objectives in mind we held educational town hall events. Additionally, we hosted a nationally recognized immigration symposium, and brought in Donald Trump Jr to speak at our recently-completed wall. We have been working diligently to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis at our border and unite all citizens who share our belief in the value of physical barriers on the border.
But our most important mission remains building new sections of wall. We are deep into the planning of Projects #2 and #3, which are coming soon. Those sections of border wall will also have a major impact when completed. Both projects are complicated in nature and require a lot of extra planning before we break ground. We cannot release exact locations due to security concerns, but rest assured we are working hard to ensure no one can target us like we saw with our first construction phase. As with Project #1, we will begin building and get the job done without a lot of fanfare in advance.
This is where we are today, and we look forward to sharing the exciting news about these projects soon.