(Don’t) Go Fund the Wall
Ever since the beginning of Donald Trump’s campaign for President, one of his biggest promises to his supporters has been the building of a border wall between the United States and Mexico as a way to prevent the entry of undocumented immigrants into the United States. This promise has garnered a plethora of political and ethical concerns and debate among citizens of America, as well as those around the world. Among the logistical issues is the cost of constructing the wall. Based on Trump’s intended scale of the border wall, statisticians have determined that the wall, which would line 1933 miles of the US-Mexico border, could cost anywhere from $8 billion to $70 billion to build, and then range from $150 million to $750 million for maintenance. With estimates on the table, the question of where these funds would come from has been a primary concern in most citizens’ minds.
Fears and rumors for the wall’s funding ran rampantly; people fretted over the funds coming out of taxpayer dollars or depleting funds from other government agencies. Trump even made a call for Mexico to pay for the wall, to which their government explicitly refused to comply. This week, however, after a few years of talks about the wall, one US citizen decided to take matters into their own hands.
On December 16th, a GoFundMe campaign was started by a Trump supporter to fund the building of the border wall. Brian Kolfage, who is a triple amputee veteran and Purple Heart Recipient, wrote how this campaign is not a scam, and he plans to use it to make private donations to the US government for specific purposes. He urges all 63 million people who voted for Trump to make a donation of $80 to quintuple the goal. The campaign raised $5 million in 3 days, and as of December 21st, it has raised more than $9 million. These numbers, along with the overwhelming support for his campaign, have been shocking and disconcerting.
There have been many complaints and qualms about this campaign. Among the typical protests against the border wall and thoughts of the wall just being a ‘racist monument,’ many are confused about how Kolfage will logistically give the money to the United States government to be used specifically for the building of the border wall. On his campaign, he has written out the logistics of how individuals can make private donations to the government, but he has not cited explicit laws or the process by which he will make the donation.
On the GoFundMe page Kolfage has stated, “We will hold all funds and not release a single penny until we have all legal aspects covered to ensure our money goes only to the wall. If we don’t reach our goal or come significantly close we will refund every single penny. We are working on a time frame to achieve.” Although Kolfage seems sincere, there are so many questions surrounding the entire process of this donation, as well as the feasibility of this donation in covering the wall’s costs. GoFundMe takes a portion of any campaign’s donations, meaning that not all the money Kolfage will be collecting will be going towards the wall. Moreover, the response from the public has been stunning. To know that this many people truly support the concept of a border wall, over 140,000 donors and counting, makes another great statement about the mindset of this nation's citizens and their views on immigration. I would advise that, when scrolling through GoFundMe campaigns, people donate to those that actually better the America people.