Border

Sunland Park: Construction of private border barrier not in compliance with City ordinance

City issues a cease and desist order

Group funding private wall in trouble with Sunland Park

SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico - The City of Sunland Park announced Tuesday the construction of a privately-funded border barrier on private property over Memorial Day weekend is not in compliance with City ordinance.

The City has issued a cease and desist order. "At this point, it will be turned over to the courts for follow-up on the matter," said Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea. 

ABC-7 has learned the group know as We Build The Wall Inc. has completed about three quarters of the barrier on private land belonging to the American Eagle Brick Company.  The property is on the southeastern base of Mount Cristo Rey right next to the Rio Grande river.

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The City of Sunland Park said it learned about the project last week and was denied access to the property on Thursday, May 23, 2019.  The following day, the owner of the property visited Sunland Park City Hall to file an application for a permit.

Perea said no site plan was submitted to the City and the application is incomplete. "There was no survey submitted, no site plan and some contradictory information submitted to the City of Sunland Park," said Perea, "My understanding is City ordinance only allows a wall up to six feet tall so, at this point, it is not within City ordinance."

We Build The Wall Inc raised more than $20 million to build border barriers on private property along the U.S.-Mexico border. The group raised the money with the help of a GoFundMe account. 

We Build The Wall Inc. emailed ABC-7 the following statement:

"We Build The Wall has done everything they need to do to be in compliance with all regulations. We've had members from Sunland Park city government out to inspect the site and to witness the first concrete pour. We believe this is a last ditch effort to intimidate us from completing this historic project by a local government with a long history of corruption problems."

Asked about the group's statement, Perea said, "That is misinformation. If they want to build a wall, they can as long as they do it according to specifications allowed by City ordinances and all necessary studies are completed."

"Yes, there was corruption in the past in the city of Sunland Park, but we maintain clean audits with the city of Sunland Park," Perea said. "That image is a whole lot different than it was, six or seven years ago."

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham released this statement:

"A multi-faceted and strategic approach is required for establishing and enhancing border security as well as dealing with the humanitarian crisis on our southern border. No president, no federal administration has done enough on these fronts in recent decades, and certainly not in recent months.

But to act as though throwing up a small section of wall on private land does anything to effectively secure our southern border from human- and drug-trafficking or address the humanitarian needs of the asylum seekers and local communities receiving them -- that's nonsense. It takes us farther away from where we all need to be."  


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