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National Butterfly Center Obtains Temporary Restraining Order Against Brian Kolfage and We Build the Wall

MISSION, Texas, Dec. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The North American Butterfly Association has been granted a temporary restraining order in a lawsuit filed in state district court in Texas to stop construction of a "border wall" on the banks of the Rio Grande River by We Build the Wall, Inc., and its founder Brian Kolfage of Miramar, Florida.

"In order to protect our investment and preserve the land on which the National Butterfly Center sits, we have no choice but to take legal action, especially when confronted with a man-made threat like this," said Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg, president and founder of the North American Butterfly Association, a nonprofit organization that has been at the forefront of the battle against the seizure of private property for border wall construction for more than two years.

The government's planned border wall in the Rio Grande Valley would not be built on the banks of the river in the floodplain but would follow the path of an existing inland earthen levee. The Kolfage/We Build the Wall project would be a freestanding structure that does not connect to any of the barriers authorized and funded by Congress and overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

We Build the Wall began as a Go Fund Me campaign to help fund the Government's proposed border wall.  After discovering that the raised funds could not be donated to the United States Government, We Build the Wall decided to construct its own wall on private property along the southwestern border. Even though the not-for-profit entity has been in existence for less than a year, it has already come under criminal investigation by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Services, which has oversight of nonprofits and charities in the state.

After building less than one-half mile of wall on private property in Sunland Park, N.M, earlier this year, We Build the Wall has come to Mission to build three miles of wall on property owned by Neuhaus & Sons, LLC, near the National Butterfly Center.

According to the suit filed in Hidalgo County on Dec. 3, We Build the Wall "has entered into an agreement with Defendant Neuhaus to build an unpermitted and potentially illegal barrier on the banks of the Rio Grande River." Furthermore, the organization has ignored the official request of the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) to cease construction of the wall until the agency has received and reviewed the studies and engineering plans necessary to ensure compliance with international treaties. Under 22 U.S. Code § 277d–34, the IBWC is authorized "to preserve the Rio Grande and the Colorado River as the boundary by preventing the construction of works which may cause deflection or obstruction of the normal flow of the rivers or of their floodflows."

The North American Butterfly Association asserts that the construction of a permanent steel barrier within the Rio Grande floodplain would cause a redirection of surface water during flooding events. This redirection of water, upstream and down, along with the accompanying debris, would cause permanent damage to neighboring properties, including the National Butterfly Center in Mission.

The National Butterfly Center is committed to "Growing Connections" between people, plants, and the winged wonders that pollinate and propagate all that grows around us. We do this through educational and environmental initiatives that cultivate meaningful understanding of the processes that create sustainable ecosystems. The Center is open to the public, for visitors and members, seven days/week.

To learn more about the National Butterfly Center and how you can join us, visit www.nationalbutterflycenter.org or call 956-583-5400. Your annual membership or charitable gift impacts the beauty of our community and helps preserve the biologically diverse, natural treasures of deep South Texas. 


Javier Pena

Pena & Vela LLC

(956) 383-0751



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SOURCE North American Butterfly Association