The GoFundMe crowdfunding platform claimed that over $ 20 million in donations would be reimbursed after a campaign to raise $ 1 billion for the Trump administration to build a wall at the Mexican border had fallen well below the goal.  The fundraising campaign, which began last month, had become viral when President Trump's attempt to charge the Wall for the wall fueled a heated political controversy and caused a partial closure of the federal government.
More than 325,000 donors had promised in the GoFundMe campaign that the organizer, a Florida veteran named Brian Kolfage, would have said it would be used for President Trump's border wall.
Mr. Kolfage said in an interview that the government donation would require congressional approval and that he knew that a Democratic-controlled classroom would not give his approval.
Instead, Mr. Kolfage said, he founded a Florida-based nonprofit organization We organize the We Build the Wall project that will use donations to finance a private effort to build parts of the wall where private landowners They will allow construction.
GoFundMe donors should proactively choose to redirect their money to the non-profit; otherwise, they would have been repaid.
Mr. Kolfage said he did not know exactly how many donors would like to redirect their money or how many landowners would like to build parts of the wall on their properties.
"When Americans see us complete miles of beautiful wall, we know that we will raise the many billions we need to finally secure the entire border," Kolfage said on the updated GoFundMe campaign page.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Trump administration did not respond to Friday night's requests for comment on the possibility of a privately financed effort to build the wall.
In general, GoFundMe campaigns can still raise money even if they do not achieve their goal.
But Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman for GoFundMe, said in a statement on Friday that Mr. Kolfage's original campaign page had said "If we do not reach our goal or we come very close we will refund every single penny" and that " 100% of your donations will go to the Trump Wall.If for any reason we do not achieve our goal, we will reimburse your donation. "
Mr. Whithorne said that since the campaign would not reach the $ 1 billion target and that both GoFundMe and Kolfage had determined that the money raised could not be given to the federal government, GoFundMe had contacted all donors for the campaign original on the refund.
Donors can request a refund immediately, Whithorne said, but if they do not decide to redirect their money to the non-profit organization, they will automatically receive a 90-day refund.
Immigration groups have condemned the GoFundMe campaign as a xenophobic result of immigrant fear. Some had initiated fundraising campaigns to raise funds for the Center for Education and Legal Services for Refugees and Immigrants, a Texas nonprofit organization known as Raices.
Jonathan Ryan, president and CEO of Raices, said that despite the change in Mr. Kolfage's campaign, the original criticism about it continues to exist.
"It's a difference without a change," Ryan said. "The wall remains the wrong direction for us as a country, something that will not help to promote any of our national interests and that would only serve to further damage refugees and vulnerable immigrants seeking protection in our country."
This week, Mr. Trump appeared on television in an attempt to push Congress to pay for the border wall, defining the situation on the Mexican border as a "humanitarian crisis" that was exposing the country to crime, drugs and terrorism .
Experts, however, point out that crossings of migrant borders have been declining for about two decades. The State Department said in a recent report that "there is no credible evidence" that terrorist groups have sent agents to enter the country through Mexico.