MIRAMAR BEACH -- Construction of a 3.5-mile section of privately funded border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas is set to resume, following a ruling from a Texas federal court judge.
Following a lengthy hearing, according to media reports, Southern District of Texas Judge Randy Crane lifted a restraining order that he had issued last month after the U.S. government, acting on behalf of the International Boundary and Water Commission, sued Fisher Industries, contractor for the wall construction effort.
The IBWC had argued that wall construction could alter the course of the Rio Grande, the river that forms the border between Texas and Mexico.
Local Wounded Warrior Hits Snags with Private Border Wall Effort
Also Thursday, Crane rejected a request for a restraining order against the wall construction effort by the North American Butterfly Association, which operates the National Butterfly Center, a 100-acre nature preserve adjacent to the wall construction site.
Brian Kolfage, the local wounded warrior behind the nonprofit We Build The Wall Inc., a Florida-based nonprofit that is part of the private border wall construction effort along the Rio Grande in Mission, Texas, said Friday that work on the 3.5 mile section of wall should be completed in eight days.
Part of the reason for that, Kolfage explained, is that North Dakota-headquartered Fisher Industries had been able to do a lot of grading and other preliminary work while the project was tied up in court.
Private Border Wall Effort Accused of Violating Federal Law
"We did all the prep work," Kolfage explained.
Kolfage, a retired Air Force airman who lost both legs and an arm in a 2004 rocket attack on an air base in Iraq, began efforts to privately fund border wall construction in late 2018.
At that time, the goal was to raise $1 billion via an online GoFundMe campaign to assist the federal government in its border wall construction effort. Weeks later, far short of the goal, the effort shifted to a private funding and construction effort, through the nonprofit We Build The Wall, Inc., headed by Kolfage.
We Build The Wall Eyes Second Section of Private Border Barrier
At one point, the nonprofit had $25 million in funds and pledges, but it currently has just $8 million on hand, according to Kolfage.
The nonprofit fully funded a nearly 1-mile section of the wall built last year near Sunland Park, New Mexico, at a cost of nearly $8 million, according to Kolfage.
Currently, We Build The Wall Inc. is slated to provide $8 million in funding to the current project in Mission, Texas, according to Kolfage, with Fisher Industries covering the remainder of the $40 million cost.
Local Wounded Warrior Changes Focus on GoFundMe Border Wall Initiative
"We're not the lead on the project," Kolfage said Friday. "This is Tommy Fisher's project." Efforts to reach Fisher, president of Fisher Industries, for comment on Friday were unsuccessful.
Going forward, Kolfage said, We Build The Wall likely will take a similar approach with future construction projects, partnering with landowners and others interested in building the border wall rather than leading construction efforts.
"Certain landowners might want to get involved themselves," Kolfage said, even as he contended that We Build The Wall is "still doing a really good job (with) fundraising."
"The ultimate endgame is just to build the wall," Kolfage said.
This article is written by Jim Thompson from Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.