An international agency has ordered that a section of privately built border wall must indefinitely keep its gate opened because organizers built the wall without obtaining authority from federal officials.
What are the details?
The International Boundary and Water Commission — an agency tasked with managing land issues between the U.S. and Mexico — said organizers of the privately funded "We Build the Wall" GoFundMe campaign built a wall with a locked gate in New Mexico, not far from El Paso, Texas.
The group allegedly locked the gate last week, blocking access to levee road on one side of the gate and a national monument on the other, BuzzFeed News reported.
After repeated requests for organizers to open the gate to the half-mile stretch of wall, the IBWC, along with law enforcement officials, indefinitely opened the gate. However, the gate is being closed at night due to "security concerns."
According to the IBWC, organizers submitted incomplete paperwork to build on federal property on June 2, after the wall had already been completed and publicly unveiled. On June 6, the IBWC responded to the request and asked for additional information. It was on that day that organizers allegedly locked the gate.
"They think they can build now and ask questions later, and that's not how it works," Lori Kuczmanski, a spokesperson for the IBWC, told BuzzFeed News. "This is policy and procedure, and you don't just come into our property and build first."
How did organizers respond?
The organizer behind the "We Build the Wall" campaign claimed that "Mexico just opened all gates" through the IBWC for a "mass invasion," according to BuzzFeed. However, there was no planned "mass invasion."
Meanwhile, the group claimed, according to KTSM-TV, that the IBWC knew about the gate and that there was an agreement to close the gate but leave it unlocked. The IBWC, however, did not indicate the existence of any agreement.
A construction foreman told KTSM— which found the gate "closed" when reporters inspected it — the gate was shut to allow concrete to cure.
"The only reason on the construction site, we have the gate closed, is so we can let the concrete cure for the backside of the base, it's got to cure for over 72-hours," the foreman said. "We sent everybody home on Friday night."
Sunland Park, New Mexico, where the wall is officially located, sent the group a cease-and-desist letter in late May ordering all construction be halted.
However, the group continued construction anyway.
In addition, the state of Florida has opened an investigation into the group behind the private campaign after fielding numerous complaints about the organization, many of which were referred from the state's attorney general's office. The organization behind the campaign is incorporated in the Sunshine State.