GREEN VALLEY, AZ (KOLD News 13) - “It’s no longer just about funding the wall, it’s about building it.”
Efforts to the build parts of the border wall with private money are gaining momentum. A group called “We Build the Wall” has already raised $20 million through GoFundMe and held a town hall meeting Friday night in Green Valley.
Brian Kolfage, a Purple Heart Recipient triple amputee veteran, created the GoFundMe back in December 2018. Since then donations have been pouring in as they try to reach their $1 billion goal.
Kolfage sat on a panel Friday alongside former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, Kris Kobach, Tom Tancredo, Curt Shilling, Mary Ann Mendoza, Steve Ronnebeck, and Brandon Darby.
The group’s plan is to build the wall on privately owned land and believes they can complete their segments in less time for less money. The only problem is there is not a lot of private property land owners in Arizona.
But the problem of only having segments of walls doesn't bother Kolfage or the group. He said parts of a wall are better than no wall and that they already identified a few zones in Arizona to build.
An important part that was brought up during the meeting is how even if President Trump was awarded the money he asked for, it would not be enough to cover the entire border. And that’s where Kolfage hopes to step in.
"We can secure 500 miles it doesn't secure the whole border but like we've learned every mile counts and everything counts. We just want to protect these communities and that's what we're doing."
Not everyone was in agreement with the We Build the Wall meeting. A group of protesters formed outside of the event with signs saying things like: "Hate has no place here" or "No platform for racists. #NoOneIsIllegal." One man even caused a disturbance inside of the meeting, calling out Bannon specifically and calling the audience a "criminal racist group."
After the man was escorted out, Bannon referred to him as the best spokesperson for their cause, saying that is proof that the group and those who support the wall are winning.
In an interview with KOLD after the meeting, Bannon stressed the importance of having a wall specifically in Southern Arizona.
"Look this is critical. It's critical to our sovereignty, it's critical to the rule of law, and I think it’s critical to making life better here in Southern Arizona and throughout the country.” said Bannon.
The Quail Creek residents outside of the meeting don't see it that way. Nancy Lynberg, a resident, said at the end of the day we are all immigrants and that the money they are raising for the wall could go towards better things.
"I think their money would be better spent on these people trying to build a better life." said Lynberg.
Lynberg did say that those attending the meeting were respectful of the protesters and that there was no conflict between the two groups.
Kolfage could not disclose the areas where they plan to build just yet, but expects to break ground in the next two to three months.
“We’re moving fast and furious, and we’re going to get it done.” said Kolfage