The International Boundary and Water Commission has come to a temporary truce with ‘We Build the Wall,’ the group responsible for the construction of the half-mile-long border barrier on private land in Sunland Park, New Mexico.
Late Tuesday, IBWC sent a press release stating that effective immediately, they will begin locking the privately-owned gate that was installed on federal land without permission due to security concerns at night. This is after a two-day attack on the Commission by Brian Koflage, President of ‘We Build the Wall.’
The U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) will lock the privately-owned gate on federal property at night effective immediately due to security concerns.
The reversal of the IBWC is not without reservations. On Tuesday, Kolfage asserted that the IBWC was part of the wall’s design process and said the agency actually requested a $300,000 electronic gate.
Irony of the IBWC, 14 of their members worked with our design team to build the gate. They wanted a $300k electronic gate, we told them no. Foreman mike saved all their business cards and will do update tonight on that. Maybe they are upset they didn’t get that fancy gate 🙂 — Brian Kolfage (@BrianKolfage) June 11, 2019
After Kolfage’s allegations, the IBWC fired back, stating that they did not authorize the construction of the private gate on federal property as announced on ‘We Build the Wall’s’ Twitter page. Additional allegations lodged against the agency by Koflage was that they were leaving border fence gates open during other times of the day and night.
“The USIBWC is not charged with securing other fences or gates as reported by We Build the Wall. The international border fences are not on USIBWC property. The USIBWC did not open any other gates in the El Paso area as erroneously reported. Other gates and the border fence are controlled by other federal agencies,” Lori Kuczmanski, spokesperson for IBWC said.
The gate will remain unlocked and open during daytime hours so the IBWC can conduct maintenance and operations at the American Dam, which is at the base of ‘We Build the Wall’s’ private border barrier.
Following IBWC’s agreement to lock the gate overnight, Kolfage immediately changed course and thanked the agency.
Our border wall & gate are secure again and we still have not had a single breach. I want to thank the IBWC for acting swiftly and we look forward to working with you on our future projects! @RyanAFournier @Rambobiggs @sethweathers @gehrig38 @SaraCarterDC @StumpforTrump pic.twitter.com/uD8rhB4P7L — Brian Kolfage (@BrianKolfage) June 12, 2019
The overnight cease-fire by ‘We Build The Wall’ does not mean the issue is an open-and-shut case.
We Build the Wall submitted an incomplete permit application to the USIBWC on Sunday, June 2 and that the agency responded to the initial permit request on June 6 with questions and requests for additional information, according to Kuczmanski.
“The USIBWC has not yet received a response from the private organization regarding the Agency’s initial response to their permit request. The USIBWC is concerned about the safety and security of our employees and the infrastructure at the American Dam, which is next to the privately-constructed gate,” the agency said.
It added that the private gate was “constructed in a way that may channel undocumented immigrants into the American Dam area.”
Once the proper documentation is received for the permit, USIBWC will continue to process the permit application, the agency said.