The We Build the Wall team held a news conference in Sunland Park, New Mexico Thursday afternoon to explain the details behind the resumption of work on the one mile section of wall that will connect the 20 mile border wall that stretches across El Paso, Texas and another 20 mile segment that stretches from the western edge of Sunland Park into the New Mexico desert.
Here’s a complete transcript of the comments of Kris Kobach, general counsel of We Build the Wall, at that news conference:
It was approximately a 36-hour delay in our work. Roughly at about four o’clock day before yesterday is when we received the stop work order from the city and then we got things going at six am his morning the stop work order was lifted by the city yesterday at four o’clock but since we didn’t have any of the machinery on site at that point we decided to wait till this morning to stop. The relevant work permits were issued by the city this morning at approximately ten am.
Just to give you a little bit of background, we actually applied for permits last week and we were told that our applications were set and we were ready to go. And we were told to begin, we asked to begin the work on Friday and we were told by the city inspector that we could begin the work. Then on Tuesday, the city looked at one of the applications thought they needed more information for that application. We were happy to provide it. We did provide additional information, more detailed site plan etc.
You may have heard a statement from someone from the city when that stop work permit was issued that they thought that the project was not in compliance with city ordinances. That statement by the city was not incorrect. The city now agrees. There was no violation of any ordinance in the city of Sunland Park. They applied an ordinance that doesn’t apply to this type of property or to this type of construction. We had done our homework long before we began this project and our homework was correct.
There was no ordinance that in any way conflicts with this project and therefore a variance was not required. But we did go ahead and get the work permits and provide the additional information. So we had about a 36-hour delay. Of course, we’re back up and running now. Had we not had that delay we would have been about to the top there where the wall is going to dead head into the cliff on the side of the mountain.
Our hope is now that we’re back up and running and Tommy Fisher can speak more about this. We will be happy to answer questions. I’ll be talking, Brian Kolfage and Tommy Fisher. Our hope that is in two days we’ll be up there where we otherwise would have been right now. We our going to be having a ceremony dedication kind of event later today which Dustin can tell you more about. But just a quick couple of comments about this site.
Those of you who are from the region know that this is one of the hottest smuggling areas in the El Paso sector. You have human smuggling down here in the valley. Drug smuggling on the paths across the side of the hill. We decided, therefore, that wasn’t just going to build something on the flat grounds like the US government has typically done in the past. We were going to build on the side of the mountain that required an extraordinary contractor. Extraordinary engineering. And extraordinary (Inaudible talk) like the federal government doesn’t do which is build up a side of a mountain.
This project ascends three hundred and ten vertical feet. So it’s truly extraordinary in that regard. All weather and steel. Seventy-five-year steel as opposed to the 25-year life span of the typical steel. But Tommy Fischer can say more about that. But one last point before I turn it over to Brian Kolfage who is the father of this entire effort is how quickly we were able to move.
We learned in the first week of April that the property owner here was suffering incredible theft, violence and trafficking across his property a desperately wanted a wall and that would be open to We Build the Wall coming in. And here we are in the last week of May and the wall is virtually completed and will be completed in two days. So it shows how quickly a private organization can identify the problem, take the steps necessary to mobilize resources and get to the site, and then complete the project.
So there are so many impressive things about this wall and Tommy will fill you in on those details. But one of the most impressive things to me is the speed with which we mobilized. The federal government can do impressive things with its huge resources. We don’t have the resources they do but we do have agility, speed, and determination and that’s what I hope you see on display when you look at this wall.