GoFundMe Campaign Raises Over $12 Million to Fund a Border Wall — But It May Need to Be Refunded
A GoFundMe campaign to actualize President Donald Trump‘s call for a wall along the United States’ border with Mexico has raised over $12 million as of Friday — though campaign organizers say the government may not be able to take the donations.
More than 97,000 people have donated to the campaign since it was created on Sunday by Brian Kolfage. The campaign lists its goal as $1 billion, with Kolfage writing that he is “working to get it raised.”
“Like a majority of those American citizens who voted to elect President Donald J. Trump, we voted for him to Make America Great Again,” Kolfage explained. “President Trump’s main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he’s followed through on just about every promise so far, this wall project needs to be completed still.”
The organizer added that “if we can fund a large portion of this wall, it will jumpstart things and will be less money Trump has to secure from our politicians.”
“This won’t be easy, but it’s our duty as citizens,” he said.
Asked about the project, a GoFundMe rep told PEOPLE, “The funds are safely held by our payment processor and we will work with the organizer to transfer funds to an appropriate recipient or refund all donors, as stated in the campaign story.”
Kolfage wrote that the team behind the campaign has contacted the Trump administration and a law firm in efforts to guarantee that the money goes toward a wall. “We will hold all funds and not release a single penny until we have all legal aspects covered to ensure our money goes only to the wall,” Kolfage said.“We haven’t spoken directly to the president but would like to,” Kolfage, who lost both legs and one hand serving in Iraq, emailed CNN. “After all, this is for his campaign promise. The people are yelling, and I hope he listens.”
The Treasury Department’s website says that Americans can donate to the government. “Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the U.S. government may send contributions to a specific account called ‘Gifts to the United States,'” the website explains.
RELATED VIDEO: PEOPLE Writer Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Attack
Citizens have donated in the past to touch up the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument and, most notably, to build the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal, Politico reported.
In June 16, 2015, when Trump announced his candidacy, he made the promise of a border wall a centerpiece of his campaign.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively,” he said. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
Trump has demanded that money for the wall be allotted in Congress’ yet-to-be-passed plan to fund parts of the government, which is due Friday at midnight, The New York Times reported.