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Veteran who served in Arizona raises millions for US-Mexico border wall


PHOENIX — An Air Force veteran who once served in Arizona has crowdsourced millions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border through a GoFundMe page.

As of Thursday, Brian Kolfage collected more than $5.4 million in donations from more than 89,000 people for the “We The People Will Fund The Wall” fundraiser.

“Like a majority of those American citizens who voted to elect President Donald J Trump, we voted for him to Make America Great Again,” the fundraiser said.

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, file)

“President Trump’s main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he’s followed through on just about every promise so far, this wall project needs to be completed still.”

The page, which was launched on Sunday, has a fundraising goal of $1 billion, the maximum amount that the site will allow users to raise. Kolfage said he is “working to get it raised.”

Kolfage, who was stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base after the Iraq War, said in a statement on the page that the wall could be built if everyone who voted for President Donald Trump pledged $80 each.

Kolfage said he has contacted the Trump administration about where to send the funds.

The page was launched as Trump and Congress were working to pass a short-term government spending bill and avoid a shutdown.

Trump announced Thursday he would not sign a bill to keep funding the government because it fails to provide billions for his border wall. His decision has thrown Congress into disarray and risks a federal shutdown this weekend.

Kolfage, who is listed on GoFundMe as being based in Miramar Beach, Florida, told The Associated Press in an email that he was not immediately available to comment.

The reception toward Kolfage’s fundraising is far from the reaction when Arizona lawmakers similarly tried to raise money for border fencing several years ago.

Legislators approved a bill in 2011 to establish a website to raise $50 million for border fencing. The effort, however, flopped, bringing in around $265,000.

Kolfage’s page inspired at least one opposing fundraising page. A GoFundMe fundraiser was created Wednesday to raise money for “ladders to get over Trump’s wall.” The site posted a goal of $100 million and garnered more than $20,000 in donations as of Thursday afternoon. All the money will go toward a nonprofit that provides education and legal services to refugees and immigrant families.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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