5 Jan 2019
We are witnessing something truly extraordinary. In merely 19 days, a GoFundMe campaign to raise private contributions to build sections of the wall along the Mexico border has raised an astonishing $19.0 million. It will soon be the most successful GoFundMe campaign ever—the current record holder is the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund for victims of sexual assault, which raised $22 million in 2018 over a much longer period of time. The campaign to build the wall should blow past that number in a few days.
Let’s put this in perspective. Consider the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Tax Check-Off, which is promoted by the IRS through the 1040 tax form and doesn’t require a contributor to give any money beyond what he is already paying in taxes. In April of 2016—normally the highest contribution month during a presidential campaign year—it raised $9.9 million. In a typical month, it raises less than a million dollars.
The GoFundMe wall campaign was started on December 16, 2018, by Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, who lost three limbs while serving in Iraq in 2004. As Kolfage told me, “People are angry about the inaction on building the border wall. They’re opening their checkbooks to donate as a way of making their voices heard.”
The astonishing number of contributions that this project has received from ordinary Americans demonstrates just how important the wall is to the American people. Citizens see the crime, wage depression, and other negative consequences of illegal immigration, and they want something done about it.
More than that, building the wall makes clear that the United States is a sovereign nation that is willing to do what is necessary to control its own border. Indeed, securing a nation’s borders is one of the most fundamental obligations that a government owes to its people. For decades, the federal government has failed miserably in fulfilling that obligation. Now, Americans are making a grassroots effort to solve the problem themselves, while sending a message to Washington. As Kolfage put it, “This is giving them an avenue to be heard.”
The Trump administration would do well to listen. Constructing the wall was the single most important campaign promise made by the President. “Build the wall” was the trademark chant at every Trump election rally in 2016. This issue arguably won the election for President Trump.
The GoFundMe campaign shows that people are not only willing to cast their votes for this cause; they are also willing to give their hard-earned money to it. The President cannot afford to back down on his promise to build the wall. The American people want it. They know that it will work. And if the politicians in Washington won’t do it, patriotic Americans will try to do it themselves. They are doing so at https://www.gofundme.com/TheTrumpWall.
Kris W. Kobach is the elected Secretary of State of Kansas. An expert in immigration law and policy, he coauthored the Arizona SB-1070 immigration law and represented in federal court the 10 ICE agents who sued to stop Obama’s 2012 DACA executive amnesty. During 2001-03, he served as U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s chief adviser on immigration and border security at the U.S. Department of Justice. His website is kriskobach.com.