The International Boundary and Water Commission is very concerned about a gate on a privately funded border wall in New Mexico, but not because it’s a popular place for migrants to illegally cross into the U.S.

IBWC officials think it’s more important to maintain public access to a federal road and famed Monument One – the point where Mexico, New Mexico and Texas intersect – than addressing the immigration crisis raging on the border.

The latest controversy over the “We Build the Wall” project in Sunland Park, New Mexico came over the weekend, and IBWC officials took action on Monday to lock the gate open because they allege the group lacks the proper permit.

“’We Build the Wall’ did not receive a permit to construct a gate on federal property,” IBWC Public Affairs Officer Lori Kuczmanski told KVIA. “It is not acceptable.”

Kuczmanski said the IBWC intervened in the project when We Build the Wall installed the gate on June 3, and the group promised to maintain public access. The IBWC contends We Build the Wall must go through a permit process for the gate, and approval to lock it shut is no guarantee.

“The contractor told the IBWC commissioner on June 4 the gate would remain open,” Kuczmanski said. “It wasn’t. On June 7, letters were exchanged, and their lawyer replied immediately and said that ‘It will be handled immediately.’”

Kuczmanski said the gate remained closed until Monday, when IBWC officials locked it open.

“The IBWC is a fine example of over reach and growing too big,” Brian Kolfage, a triple amputee war veteran and founder of We Build the Wall, posted to Twitter. “They are overstepping DHS, national security experts and undermining President Trump. As soon as they locked our gate open we noticed many other gates around El Paso just opened up!! They are planning for mass invasion.”

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Mike Furey, foreman for the We Build the Wall project in Sunland Park, told KTSM the gate was locked to restrict public access temporarily to give the concrete at the site time to dry. The roughly $8 million wall stretches about a half mile on private property, which the public must cross through to access Monument One.

“The only reason on the construction site, we have the gate closed, is so we can let the concrete cure for the backside of the base, it’s got to cure for over 72 hours so and then nobody is there,” Furey said. “We sent everybody home on Friday night.”

That’s when the ACLU of New Mexico sent out an action alert, urging citizens to call the IBWC to demand public access to Monument One, KTSM reports.

Former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach, a legal advisor for We Build the Wall, said the group is in discussions with the IBWC and Border Patrol to devise policies that maintain both public access and border security.

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“Both the IBWC and the Border Patrol will have a role in the future when determining when the gate is locked and when it is not,” he said.

“We’re respecting their review process and I will say this, there are multiple ways the public could have access. The IBWC and the Border Patrol could agree to certain hours that the gate would be unlocked, they could agree to certain conditions like maybe if there is a Border Patrol officer there when the gate could be unlocked,” Kobach said. “So really, they’re going to have a bigger role down the road in making those decision, those two agencies.”

In the meantime, Kolfage is calling for an investigation into IBWC commissioner Jayne Harkins, and posting pictures and updates online of smugglers ushering thousands of illegal immigrants into the United States.

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