SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico - A private group called We Build The Wall did just that over the Memorial Day Weekend near Sunland Park, New Mexico.
The group announced on its Facebook page it built a portion of border barrier near the base of Mt. Cristo Rey.
Workers at the site told ABC-7 the land where the barrier is being built is owned by American Eagle Brick Company. "We learned this gap needed to be filled, that the owner of this property wanted the security of having a border barrier. So, it was a perfect combination. We could step in and fill the need," said Kris Kobach, a former secretary of state in Kansas and advisor for We Build The Wall.
Kobach told ABC-7 the group plans to build the barrier up the mountain, along private property. The plan is to build a platform on the mountain where Border Patrol agents can park and monitor the border along the newly-installed barrier. "(The barrier) climbs over 300 vertical feet, over this half mile. And in so doing, we not only stopped the human smuggling down at the bottom in the flat area, we also stopped drug smuggling."
In an interview with Fox & Friends on Monday, Kobach said "This is the first time any private organization has built a portion of the wall on private land. It's happening right here in the El Paso area, and it's not just any piece of land. This piece of land is right where the El Paso wall -- that separates El Paso and Ciudad Juarez -- where that wall ends there's been a half-mile gap between the existing wall and Mt. Cristo Rey."
Yahoo News reports former White House strategist Steve Bannon is now the director of We Build The Wall. “We had to catch them by surprise,” Bannon told Yahoo News, predicting residents are “gonna freak out” when they see what was erected over the past two days.
Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage raised $20 million to build the wall through his GoFundMe project, but it appeared to be floundering until Bannon took the helm. The goal was to donate the money to the federal government, but the group soon learned it would not be able to dictate exactly how the government allocated the money.
At that point, it decided to start building the wall on private properties along the border.
Bannon told Yahoo News the project to build the border barrier near Sunland Park, overseen by construction mogul Tommy Fisher of North Dakota-based Fisher Industries, involved hundreds of workers and cost $6 million.
During the interview with Fox & Friends, Kobach said, "The Army Corps of Engineers said this piece of land is too rugged to build on, you can't build there. Well, we built the wall and proved them wrong."
Kobach told ABC-7 Fisher Industries is using patented techniques to build several sections of the barrier at a time. Kobach said the steel used on this barrier has a lifespan of 75 years, longer, he says, than steel used by government contractors.
Koback said the border barrier is a perfect Memorial Day gift. "I think this is a fitting present to the United Sates and to the people of El Paso because this is protecting our security," he said, "It's the same thing indirectly that those soldiers died for: American security or another country's security."
Kobach said the barrier will have a paved road running side-by-side so Border Patrol agents can drive next to it. He said Border Patrol agents are in favor of a privately-funded barrier. "The official border patrol position is: 'It's private property, the owner can do what he wants.'"
ABC-7 reached out to the U.S. Border Patrol but our calls were not answered.