Boy, 7, Who Raised $22,000 for Donald Trump's Border Wall Leads Ribbon Cutting at Newly Built Section

A 7-year-old boy credited with having raised $22,000 for construction on President Donald Trump's border wall between the U.S. and Mexico helped lead a ribbon-cutting ceremony for citizen-led efforts to build the wall on private property.

Benton Stevens came under the national spotlight earlier this year after he raised more than $22,000 with a hot chocolate stand to see Trump's border wall plans brought to fruition.

On Thursday, the 7-year-old joined organizers of "We Build The Wall," a citizen-led crowdfunding initiative to see Trump's long-promised border wall built, at a ceremonial ribbon cutting held in front of a newly-built section of the development in Sunland Park, New Mexico, KFOX-TV reported.

The ceremonial ribbon cutting event took place after the border fencing project was nearly brought to a halt when the Sunland Park mayor's office issued a cease-and-desist order on the border wall project last week.

At a news conference on Thursday, however, Mayor Javier Perea said that while the group had not yet been issued a formal building permit from the city, its members would be allowed to proceed with the development so as long as they complied with city and state regulations going forward and addressed any outstanding issues with their paperwork.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Perea said that, in the city's view, it had been too late to stop construction on the border fencing because much of it had already been put up by the time the city realized construction had been underway.

"I do believe that a lot of this work was done with the intention of, 'Get it built and then we'll deal with it after the fact,'" Perea said of the project. "For a small community like ours that does not have large teams of people who can look at these issues, it's difficult and it's straining on the city to do a quick turnaround on a project like this."

We Build The Wall organizers have maintained that they did fill out the appropriate permit applications for the border wall development and said they also received verbal permission to start work on the fence.

After receiving the city's permission to move forward, We Build The Wall's Founder Brian Kolfage took to Twitter to celebrate the victory, sharing a photo of one of the new permits received from the city.

"We are back to work building the wall," he wrote. "Here's the new permit! WINNING!"

Later in the day, Kolfage, a triple-amputee war veteran, posted a photo of himself and 7-year-old Stevens at the group's ribbon-cutting ceremony, writing: "This incredible young man Benton from Austin, Texas raised $22k for We Build The Wall, Inc."

"He is one of our biggest donors and only 7-years-old!" Kolfage said. "It shows you that no matter what you can always make a large impact...You just need to work hard!"

So far, Kolfage's We Build The Wall initiative has raised more than $23 million in a span of five months.

According to KFOX-TV, the group has said it has plans to continue construction on its border wall across 10 more properties. It is unclear, however, whether they have yet received permission from the city for those plans to move forward.

Newsweek has contacted We Build The Wall and the Sunland Park mayor's office for comment for this article.

Border Wall, Construction
Construction crews work on a border wall being put in place by We Build The Wall Inc. on June 01, 2019 in Sunland Park, New Mexico. We Build the Wall is a non-profit organization that is funding the private construction of the border wall in an attempt, they say, to stem the flow of migrants and others from coming across the border illegally from Mexico into the United States. Getty/Joe Raedle
Boy, 7, Who Raised $22,000 for Donald Trump's Border Wall Leads Ribbon Cutting at Newly Built Section | U.S.