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FILE - In this May 31, 2006, file photo, a man climbs over the international border into Nogales, Ariz., from Nogales, Mexico. Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, who started a GoFundMe page to help fund construction of President Donald Trump's border wall, has already raised millions of dollars. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

A veteran started a GoFundMe page for Trump's border wall and has raised millions of dollars

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By TERRY TANG, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — An online fundraiser started by an Air Force veteran to pay for construction of President Donald Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall was up to millions of dollars Thursday, bringing further attention to an issue that could lead to a government shutdown.

Brian Kolfage launched the GoFundMe page Sunday, and it has since generated almost $8 million in donations as of Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. The site states a fundraising goal of $1 billion.

Crowdsourcing Border Wall
FILE - In this AprIl 1, 2015, file photo, retired Air Force Airman Brian Kolfage, right, gives a piece of cheese to his 1-year-old daughter, Paris Kolfage, as his wife, Ashley Kolfage, looks on at their recently rented home in Sandestin, Fla. Kolfage, a triple-amputee who lost his limbs serving in Iraq in the U.S. Air Force, started a GoFundMe page to help fund construction of President Donald Trump's border wall has already raised millions of dollars. (Nick Tomecek/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP, file)

In a statement posted on the crowdsourcing page, Kolfage says the wall could be built if everyone who voted for Trump pledged $80 each.

"As a veteran who has given so much, three limbs, I feel deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today," Kolfage wrote.

A triple amputee injured in the Iraq War in 2004, Kolfage said he has contacted the Trump administration about where to send the money once the fundraiser ends.

Trump announced Thursday he would not sign a bill to keep funding the government because it fails to provide billions for his border wall. It was his second reversal in a matter of days after conservative allies and pundits accused him of backing down on a central campaign promise.

His decision has thrown Congress into disarray and risks a federal shutdown this weekend.

Kolfage, who is listed on GoFundMe as being based in Miramar, Florida, said in an email that he was not immediately available to comment.

The reception toward Kolfage's fundraising is far from the reaction when Arizona lawmakers similarly tried to raise money for border fencing several years ago.

Crowdsourcing Border Wall
FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2014, file photo, former U.S. Air Force Airman Brian Kolfage, center, sits in a wheelchair next to his wife Ashley, right, who holds their daughter Paris, during the National September 11 Memorial and Museum's "Salute to Service" tribute honoring U.S. veterans in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, file)

Legislators approved a bill in 2011 to establish a website to raise $50 million for border fencing. The effort, however, flopped, bringing in around $265,000.

Kolfage's page inspired at least one opposing fundraising page. A GoFundMe fundraiser was created Wednesday to raise money for "ladders to get over Trump's wall." The site posted a goal of $100 million and garnered more than $31,000 in donations as of Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. All the money will go toward a nonprofit that provides education and legal services to refugees and immigrant families.
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This story has been corrected to show that Kolfage said each Trump voter should pledge $80.

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