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New Mexico Town Battles Private Builder Over Border Wall


Thursday, May 30, 2019   

SUNLAND PARK, N. M. – New Mexico environmental groups say contractors who helped build a nearly mile-long wall on private property near the southern border over the weekend should be banned from future business opportunities in the state.

Earlier this week, the mayor of Sunland Park filed a stop-work order to halt a private group from continuing the wall construction, citing a lack of proper permits. In addition, the group's 18-foot steel bollard wall is taller than city ordinances allow.

Kevin Bixby, executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center, said he believes the group's action showed disrespect for New Mexico and its laws.

"Honestly, I think, more than anything, this is a Trump campaign stunt," Bixby asserted. "His supporters want to demonstrate that he's actually making progress in building the wall."

The group, which calls itself We Build the Wall, has promised to finish the project.

It had begun building even after a federal judge last week issued a preliminary injunction against construction on sections of the proposed wall. It was a setback for the Trump administration's move to reallocate funding by emergency declaration in order to build the barrier.

The private group has raised more than $20 million through a crowdfunding campaign. The land chosen for the project is owned by the American Eagle Brick Company, and the company hired to build the wall is identified as Fisher Industries of North Dakota.

Bixby said he thinks both companies should be denied future contracts in New Mexico.

"We will be encouraging the state of New Mexico and local governments in New Mexico to enact policies that prohibit them from doing business in the future with any contractor involved with the wall construction," he added.

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, known for his conservatism, is a legal advisor to We Build the Wall. He told the Albuquerque Journal that the Sunland Park project has the "blessing" of President Donald Trump.

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