New Mexico

Sunland Park Mayor: Permits for private border barrier issued in error; work resumes

Mayor says he received death threats, racial slurs

Sunland Park, NM - The mayor of Sunland Park said Thursday he and his family received death threats after the City issued a stop work order to the group building a privately-funded border barrier on private property along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"My family and I have received death threats over the last couple of days," said Mayor Javier Perea, "We have increased law enforcement presence. Some death threats have been called in to Dona Ana County."

Perea said some callers threatened to go to city hall and open fire. 

On Thursday, the mayor confirmed work on the border barrier has resumed even though City officials "issued permits in error" prematurely. 

We Build The Wall Inc. raised more than $22 million via crowdfunding online to build border barriers on private land along the U.S.-Mexico border.  The group has nearly completed a mile-long barrier on land owned by the American Eagle Brick Company. The property is located on the southeastern base of Mt. Cristo Rey right next to the Rio Grande river. 

Earlier this week, the City of Sunland Park issued a stop work order, claiming the property owner filed incomplete permit applications for the border barrier. The group claims it filed the necessary paperwork and was given the green light by City employees. 


During a news conference Thursday, Perea revealed city officials issued two permits in error for the lights and fence going up on the property.

Since construction is already underway and We Build The Wall is cooperating with city officials, Sunland Park is allowing construction to continue, Perea said.

Perea said the project was not properly vetted by the city beforehand. 

The issues that still need to be corrected are as follows:

  • Pedestal plans need a stamp of approval from a certified New Mexico engineer. 
  • Grading and drainage plans need a stamp of approval from a certified New Mexico engineer. 
  • Foundation plans need a stamp of approval from a certified New Mexico engineer. 
  • Subcontractor for electrical plans needs a stamp of approval from a certified New Mexico engineer.
  • An environmental impact study needs to be conducted.

Mayor Perea says fines could be issued to We Build The Wall, but was unclear what the costs of those would be.

Death threats against city officials and the mayor's family have been made over the last week since construction has begun and security has been an issue according to Perea.

Perea sayid that when construction started, it was unclear who had jurisdiction over the project, but the City has since confirmed it has sole jurisdiction.

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