Former White House adviser Steve Bannon has pleaded not guilty after he and three others were charged with wire fraud and money laundering in connection with a $25 million fundraising campaign to build a border wall in South Texas. They’re accused of redirecting some of the money for personal use.
The group, called the We Build the Wall project, has constructed some portions of border fencing in and around Texas. One portion of their barrier in the Rio Grande Valley, which has been slowed by lawsuits, is affected by realities on the ground, too: major soil erosion occurred just months after that section of wall was completed. The group has also been building portions of a wall near El Paso.
Angela Kocherga is news director at KTEP in El Paso. She told Texas Standard that the founder of We Build the Wall, Brian Kolfage, promised that none of the donations collected to pay for the privately funded project would go to organizers, or to anything other than construction of the wall.
Kocherga said there were concerns in the El Paso area about whether the wall had been constructed properly, or received the proper permits.
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– How El Pasoans have reacted to the construction of the wall
– What federal officials said about the wall before and after the arrests of organizers
– Why residents question the private wall’s effectiveness at deterring border crossers