The half-mile private border wall that sprung up over Memorial Day weekend was hit with a cease and desist order Tuesday for being built in violation of Sunland Park, New Mexico, city ordinance.
The wall, built near El Paso, Texas, by a nonprofit organization funded by triple-amputee Airforce veteran Brian Kolfage’s viral $20 million GoFundMe fundraising campaign, didn’t obtain a building permit prior to breaking ground, Sunland Park city officials told KTSM.
“We have issued a cease and desist to the owner of the property,” Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea said at a press conference Tuesday. “At this point, it will be turned over to the courts for follow up in the matter.”
Kolfage claimed on Twitter that his organization, We Build The Wall, was given the “green light to build,” and said the city’s cease and desist was “bullshit.”
“Keep donating,” Kolfage added.
But former White House strategist and We Build The Wall director Steve Bannon told Yahoo News on Monday that his group hastily “purchased the rights” to construct a wall on the private land.
“We had to catch them by surprise,” Bannon said, adding that local residents are “gonna freak out” when they see the newly-constructed wall.
And Perea, a Democrat, said the owner of the private property housing Kolfage’s wall submitted an “incomplete” application for the wall on Friday, then began construction shortly after.
“There was no survey submitted with the plans at this point; there’s no site plan developed or turned into the city of Sunland Park,” Perea said. “Also, city ordinance only allows a wall up to six feet tall, and this far exceeds that.”
The mayor said the typical permitting process takes about two months.
“Just submitting an application one day and expecting a result on the next is not sufficient time,” he said.
Perea said city officials were denied access to the work site after learning Thursday that the private wall would be constructed.
It’s unclear whether the city has the authority to tear down the private wall.
“I would have to consult with my staff and attorneys as to what further actions can be done at this point,” Perea said.
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