International Commission Says It Will Lock Private Border Gate at Night But Unlock It During the Day for Maintenance of Federal Dam

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The U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) announced Tuesday it will lock We Build the Wall’s private gate at night “due to security concerns” but open it during the day.

“Our border wall & gate are secure again and we still have not had a single breach. I want to thank the IBWC for acting swiftly and we look forward to working with you on our future projects,” We Build the Wall founder Brian Kolfage tweeted.

Kolfage also tweeted, “Thank you IBWC for your dedication to allow us to protect the citizens of sunland park and El Paso.”

The IBWC’s press release is here. It adds:

The USIBWC is continuing to work with We Build the Wall regarding its permit request. Until this decision, the private gate was in a locked open position. We Build the Wall, a private organization, built a gate on federal land in Sunland Park, N.M., near El Paso, Texas, without authority, and then locked the gate closed on June 6, 2019. The private gate blocks a levee road owned by the U.S. Government. After repeated requests to unlock and open the private gate, the United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC), accompanied by two uniformed law enforcement officers from the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, removed the private lock, opened the gate, and locked the gate open pending further discussions with We Build the Wall. The gate was also opened so that USIBWC employees can conduct maintenance and operations at American Dam.

The USIBWC did not authorize the construction of the private gate on federal property as announced on We Build the Wall’s Twitter page. The USIBWC is not charged with securing other fences or gates as reported by We Build the Wall. The international border fences are not

on USIBWC property. The USIBWC did not open any other gates in the El Paso area as erroneously reported. Other gates and the border fence are controlled by other federal agencies.

When the proper documentation is received for the permit, USIBWC will continue to process the permit application.

KTSM called the arrangement a “temporary truce.” The station quotes Lori Kuczmanski of the IBWC’s U.S. section as saying We Build the Wall submitted an incomplete permit application June 2 and the agency responded to the initial permit request on June 6 with questions.

The gate will remain unlocked and open during daytime hours for maintenance and operations at the American Dam at the base of the private wall, KTSM said.

Kolfage told CNN the gate was under We Build the Wall’s control and they will lock it, that the IBWC will schedule times for his group to unlock it and that it will remain locked otherwise.

Kuczmanski said the IBWC is controlling the gate, according to CNN. She also disputed claims that the agency only became involved after the ACLU weighed in. The spokeswoman also said the permitting process can take up to six months and will consider issues on accessing the monument. A hydrology study and a drainage report are needed.

As early as Tuesday morning, Kolfage had announced in a press release that, “yesterday our wall and our nation came under attack by a globalist bureaucracy called the IBWC (International Boundary and Waterway Commission). This group which is half controlled by Mexico showed up to our wall with American police to LOCK THE GATE OPEN,” Battleground State News reported.

Battleground State News reported Sunday that the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico is trying to claim that the construction of the private border wall blocks access to Monument One, a border marker dating to 1855 that’s on the National Register of Historic Places, according to a story by KOAT.

The ACLU urged the IBWC, which manages the monument’s land, to intervene. The border wall is on private land, but it was built across from Monument One, which is on federal land but accessed from a road and a gate. The road is largely, but not entirely, federal property. A portion of that road is owned by Jeff Allen, owner of American Eagle Brick Co., which owns the land where the private border wall is being built.

Allen told KVIA that he and his dog have been attacked by people on the Mexican side of the border. He restricts access on his portion of the road to Monument One but will allow people to visit if he knows who is attending. The story lists a phone number that people may call if they want to arrange for access.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Open Wall” by Brian Kolfage.

 

 

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