SOURCE: The Guardian
DATE: December 7, 2019
SNIP: The construction of a private border wall partially funded by rightwing allies of Donald Trump continued with vigor in south Texas this week, seemingly in blatant violation of a court injunction ordering work to be suspended.
On Thursday and Friday, within three days of a temporary restraining order being issued, the Guardian found construction crews with at least 10 heavy machinery vehicles moving soil, digging trenches and positioning tall metal posts along the US bank of the Rio Grande in Hidalgo county, which forms the border with Mexico. A 3.5-mile, privately-funded concrete barrier is planned on the site, near Mission, Texas.
The state court order was served to We Build the Wall (WBTW), an anti-migrant group founded by military veteran Brian Kolfage, and the landowners, Neuhaus and Sons LLC, whose land is situated between Trump’s proposed wall and the Mexican border.
WBTW is a not-for-profit group that has crowd-funded millions of dollars by tapping into anti-migrant fervor and is led by former White House advisor Steve Bannon as chairman of its advisory board. Kolfage has described migrants as terrorists and drug traffickers, and accuses border wall critics as being cartel collaborators.
The injunction, issued on Tuesday by a state judge, was granted citing potential “imminent and irreparable damage” to the National Butterfly Center, a popular 100-acre riverfront nature reserve adjacent to the Neuhaus property. The wall could act as a dam and redirect floodwater and debris to the sanctuary, destroying an ecosystem which sustains hundreds of native butterfly species and birds, the center said.
Work was still going on on Friday afternoon when the Guardian was given access to an adjacent private plot, and witnessed crews moving soil, excavating a trench on a vast stretch of cleared riverbank, and preparing it for concrete foundations and metal posts. A Border Patrol vehicle was parked close to the bulldozers, partially hidden by lofty sugar cane.
An employee of the construction company Fisher Industries, who identified himself as Sean, confirmed that work had continued uninterrupted – despite the injunction.