Crime & Courts

U.S. sheriffs crowdfunding for border wall. ‘We will not sit idly by,’ one in NC says

Members of a Central American family traveling with a caravan of migrants prepare to cross the border and apply for asylum in the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, April 29, 2018. The family journeyed in a caravan to the U.S. border to  ask for asylum but were told by U.S. immigration officials that the San Diego crossing was already at capacity. At a recent meeting at the White House with Donald Trump, sheriffs from across the country launched a crowdfunding site to help raise money for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Members of a Central American family traveling with a caravan of migrants prepare to cross the border and apply for asylum in the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, April 29, 2018. The family journeyed in a caravan to the U.S. border to ask for asylum but were told by U.S. immigration officials that the San Diego crossing was already at capacity. At a recent meeting at the White House with Donald Trump, sheriffs from across the country launched a crowdfunding site to help raise money for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. AP Photo

At a recent meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump, sheriffs from across the country announced a crowdfunding site to help raise money for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We will not sit idly by while our neighborhoods become more dangerous and the citizens we serve face greater risk,” NC’s Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page said in a news release Wednesday announcing the crowdfunding site. “If we fail to secure our sovereign borders, every Sheriff in America will become a ‘Border Sheriff.’”

Page was the only NC sheriff at the meeting with Trump this month, Sgt. Kevin Suthard, spokesman for the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, said in an email to The Charlotte Observer Wednesday. Page was unaware of any SC sheriff being at the meeting, according to Suthard.

Page joined 42 other sheriffs from 35 states in announcing the National Sheriffs’ Association crowdfunding website, www.SheriffsWall.org. Donations are tax-deductible and go directly to the Department of Homeland Security through the National Sheriffs’ Association, Page said.

“Legal counsel on both sides have worked to ensure contributions go directly to a special account that can only be used for the border security wall project,” Page said in Wednesday’s news release.

The crowdfunding site shows a goal of $100,000 to go toward further construction of the wall. Only about $14,000, or 14 percent of the goal, had been raised as of Wednesday night.

That amount is a smidgen of the estimated cost of extending the existing fencing at the U.S. border with Mexico to what Politifact reports is Trump’s desired 1,000 miles.

Four weeks into the Border Wall Prototype Construction Project, eight new wall prototypes were constructed near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry as of October 19. This aerial view shows the walls being built. Otay Mesa is a community in San Diego.

The border is about 1,900 miles long, the (San Jose, Calif.) Mercury News reported in a story about the “6 things to know about the U.S. Mexico border.” Previous administrations built about 650 miles of border fencing, Politifact California reported.

Estimates to fund the wall, by the president himself and others, vary from as little as $4 billion to as much as $67 billion, according to the news site Quartz.

In March, Page and five other NC sheriffs were among more than 310 sheriffs nationwide to sign a National Sheriffs’ Association letter urging Congress to “pass legislation to secure our borders through enforcing immigration laws, tightening border security, support the replacement and upgrades to current barriers and fencing and construction of barriers along the U.S. and Mexico international boundary,” according to the SheriffsWall.org site. One SC sheriff also signed the letter.

In Wednesday’s news release about the crowdfunding site, Page said “some members of Congress have refused to act on the security aspects of immigration reform, as thus, have done nothing to stop the flow of drugs such as Heroin, into our neighborhoods. This refusal to act also does nothing to stop the scourge of human trafficking or transnational gangs terrorizing communities across America.”

That inaction, Page said in his news release, compelled U.S. sheriffs to “come together and act for the safety of the people we have sworn to protect.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak
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