Steve Bannon has given his support to a private attempt to pay for a wall along the US southern border, amidst a political stalemate that left $ 5.7 billion in funding for President Trumd's signature campaign promise, according to Politics.
The idea for private wall financing began in December, after veteran Brian Kolfage launched a GoFundMe campaign that raised $ 20 million.
Big name for Trump supporters Bannon, a former Trump campaign and strategist from the White House, came to the project en masse. And they have started consults with the Israeli company that created the border fence of that country with Gaza, the group told POLITICO. They expect to have a city hall in Tucson, Arizona on Friday and visit the border in Laredo, Texas next week. –Politics
Bannon and Kolfage are accompanied by several other "#MAGA all-stars" such as Politics she describes, including Blackwater founder Erik Prince, Kansas State Secretary Kris Kobach, former Colorado Rep Tom Tancredo, former Sheriff David Clarke and baseball legend Curt Schilling. The group formed the non-profit organization "We Build the Wall" that resulted from the original crowdfunding effort.
According to Kolfage, President Trump reportedly blessed the project in a talk with Kobach last month, while the organizers insisted that they could plan a large-scale wall project supplement and trim the cost of the Trump federal wall.
"Look, it evolves," Bannon said.
"Do we have a billion dollars now, but can we get one or two hundred million dollars?" No doubt, "added Bannon, whose
Bannon added that they are investigating whether the wall can be made of hemp-based building material "hemp concrete" – a bio-composite material that consists of extremely durable hemp and lime. The material is lightweight and semi-flexible.
"Do you understand the irony of using hemp concrete to keep marijuana out?" Bannon asked rhetorically. If hemp concrete is selected for the project, the American hemp academy would be called to supply the wall material according to the organizers.
You may wonder if "Hempbeton" was made using a similar process as "Fiberweed" – as depicted in this 1978 documentary *
* no real documentary
Is this just a political stunt?
Detractors, such as the director Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum, called the project "a big political stunt", but warned that "the country will not become safer." Noorani proposed to apply border surveillance equipment at the ports of entry. That being said, the private effort would require the permission of private landowners instead of government demands – something that Noorani admitted was an advantage.
About 2/3 of the 2,000 miles of the southern border – or about 1,300 miles – are owned privately or by states according to a 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office.
Leon Fresco, former deputy assistant attorney general of the Immigration Office of the Ministry of Justice, said he was skeptical because the effort could create a meaningful dent in migration patterns. He noted that a single mile boundary wall could cost millions.
"Twenty million dollars to $ 30 million will not bring you far, "he said." Private efforts to build walls can also cause problems with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department, said Fresco, now a partner at the Washington & Holland office in Washington & Knight –Politics
According to the Israeli screen company Magal Security Systems, one mile from the wall would cost between $ 1.5 and $ 2.5 million, excluding the costs of land, according to Kolfage.
"They have the right to be skeptical," said Kolfage, a triple-amputee Iraqi war veteran. "It is something that has never been done before, and it is a very big project, but we will give it everything."
The organizers want to increase a few billions of dollars for the effort, and will promote the plan at the end of February during the annual CPAC political meeting. The group can follow that with a bus trip and town halls along the border to gather support from border residents.
According to Kolfage, who mentions experts, they could gain ground in May or June – which in his view would lead to more fundraising, while the group shows that the project is actually happening.
"As soon as we break the ground, it will open a whole new can of worms."
Kobach believes they can raise $ 100 million for more than 30 miles of wall within the first year of the project.
"Often, people will just wait for the government to do it," Kobach said. "In this case, the need is so urgent that they say they want to do it right now."
Bannon joined the group after Kolfage made the headlines when Facebook closed the Facebook page of the disabled veteran. Kolfage turned to the former chairman of Breitbart, and the two talked about it – in Washington for discussions on the wall project at the end of December.
Although Bannon's involvement was secret, Prince, Kobach, Clarke, Tancredo and Schilling all serve on the board of the non-profit organization. Each of them brings a colorful approach to the mix: Prince, the brother of the education secretary of Trump, Betsy DeVos, has performed extensive private security work in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere. Clarke, a former Milwaukee County sheriff known for his distinctive black cowboy hat, has a reputation for adopting extreme law-and-order views on the conservative media and conference circuit. Tancredo has been named as a congressman with a term of five years and has constantly insisted on stricter border security. And Schilling has turned from a legendary Major League pitch career to a failed start of a video game for hosting a podcast for Breitbart News. –Politics
Kolfage says he expects to formalize an agreement with Magal this week.