President Trump’s political obsession over building the border wall has led to one government shutdown and threatens another. As observers condemn the cronyism on display in the awarding of a wall building contract to his desired contractor and as images of individuals easily scaling and sawing through newly constructed sections offer reminders of why the wall is such a colossally dumb idea in the first place, the spotlight is returning to the Texas landowners whose property the Trump administration is seeking to seize in order to claim momentum on Trump’s racist border wall promise.
A Washington Post story from this weekend includes interviews with a host of private landowning families in Texas whose property the Trump administration is seeking to claim. The landowners, who include military veterans, longtime Texans, and Trump 2016 voters, are, quite understandably, not happy with the news that they are set to lose their property.
Several weeks ago, when news broke that Jared Kushner’s “new assignment” was overseeing the construction of Trump’s border wall, Mario Carillo, Director of America’s Voice Texas, said:
Since Jared is clearly itching to be right in the action and aiming to play a central role in the ‘take the land’ scheme, we humbly offer the following invitation: that the Manhattan boy prince travel to Texas in his plush velvet loafers and monogrammed, pressed shirt to make the case to landowners — in person — for why he plans to seize their private property. Lest you doubt his skills, his track record in shaping the amazing Middle East peace deal shows that he’s clearly up to the challenge. So slip on your Brooks Brothers gear and head to Texas, Jared. I’m sure the landowners will love to chat with you.
The details in the story only make that invitation all the more attractive. C’mon Jared, let’s make this happen. Below, find key excerpts from the Washington Post story, “Texans on southern border promise to fight Trump’s efforts to take their homes for border wall”:
…They never imagined a border wall could dissect their property someday. But the first letter, stamped with an official government seal, arrived about a year ago. Their neighbors, the Carrascos and Trevinos, got them, too.
“We were astonished,” Castillo said, noting that the government letter basically sought unlimited access to his family land with no preclusions. His wife, Yvette Arroyo, threw the first letter away, but the lawsuit that came next was a bit more intimidating. “We were like, ‘Hell no!’ We don’t like this. It’s very intrusive.”
…The fight that probably will ensue pits Texans against Trump, who has long said he wants to take whatever land he needs to build his signature promise to America. Landowners, including some who support Trump, are preparing a legal fight that could stall the wall-building effort and lead to years-long court battles over private land rights, family homes and what the Trump administration deems a critical national security issue.
…Rocio Trevino, who owns a home in the subdivision adjacent to the Castillos and Carrascos, denied the government access to survey until they could answer basic questions about what would happen next. The Trevinos signed over rights to a vacant lot they own that also lies in the wall’s path. But the idea of giving the government access to their family home was different.
Trevino voted for Trump and agrees that the nation needs to secure the border — the family has hurricane shutters over every window and door for security — but she is exasperated by the uncertainty and unresponsiveness of the process involving her property.
“What bothered me most is every time I asked a question, the government responded with, ‘We don’t know. We don’t know,’ ” she said.
…People who support the idea of a wall “might feel like it’s good and it’ll stop illegals, but when the wall gets into your space, well, nobody wants that,” said Trevino, 39, who owns a business consulting firm. “I am well aware that things are happening around us, but this is our space and we should have a say-so in whether we want it or not.”