Benton Stevens, a 7-year-old Texas boy, has raised $22,000 by selling hot chocolate in an effort to build a wall on the U.S. Mexico border.
The boy’s mother, Jennifer Stevens, told Fox 35 that her son was inspired to start raising money in February after watching President Donald Trump deliver the State of the Union address.
“Benton decided right then and there that he wanted to help the president build the wall,” Stevens said.
When Inside Edition in February asked Benton why he likes Trump and his border wall plan, the boy explained: “He is protecting our country.”
Protection from what? “Illegal immigrants,” Benton said.
In the summer, the young entrepreneur plans to open a lemonade stand and hopefully reach his fundraising target of $50,000. The money will go to We Build the Wall, Inc., a nonprofit that is working to crowdfund Trump’s promised border wall.
We Build the Wall
Since launching the campaign last December, We Build the Wall has brought in more than $23 million toward its $1-billion goal. Late last month, sections of border wall were completed in Sunland Park, New Mexico. On Thursday, Benton took part in a ceremonial ribbon cutting held in front of one section.
According to Kris Kobach, a former Kansas secretary of state who serves as We Build the Wall’s general counsel, the group’s aims are to supplement governmental border security efforts by strategically targeting gaps.
“It shows how quickly a private organization can identify the problem, take the steps necessary to mobilize resources and get to the site, and then complete the project,” Kobach told NPR last week.
Benton Stevens and the border wall highlight immigration controversy
We Build the Wall’s efforts have earned backlash in an American political climate hotly divided over the issue of immigration.
“Here we go!! Liberals trying to intimidate us!” Brian Kolfage, who launched We Build the Wall’s crowdfunding campaign, said in a tweet after the group was hit with a cease and desist order from Sunland Park’s mayor last week.
The city has since approved the project and allowed construction to continue.
Liberals meanwhile, have connected support for the border wall to the president’s allegedly anti-immigrant rhetoric.
— Zachary Fox (@zackfox) June 3, 2019
El Paso-based Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, last week accused We Build the Wall of having a “racist agenda.”
“It’s deeply disturbing when outsiders, like Kris Kobach and Steve Bannon, come in and use our community and people as a backdrop to further their racist agenda,” she said. “It’s even more disturbing that a business in our community is furthering this xenophobic narrative. While this wall may be necessary fuel for the president’s political campaign, it will not prevent people from seeking asylum.”
Benton has not been spared from the rancorous debate. Stevens told Inside Edition that one man who passed her son’s hot chocolate stand called him a “little Hitler.”
Imagine if his parents cared about something like poverty or juvenile cancer as opposed to whatever Fox News shoves in their heads and in turn their kid's head.
— Ryan Storey (@Storey33) June 3, 2019
“The guy pointed at him and said it right to his face,” she said.
According to her, Benton responded: “I don’t know what that means.”
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