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ICYMI: Trump Readies Case to Seize Private Land in Texas to Build Useless Border Wall

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Sen. Cruz and Sen. Cornyn response to land grab? Silence

In a piece published by NBC News this week, Courtney Kube and Julia Ainsley highlight that the Trump administration is preparing court filings to begin forcefully taking private land from hundreds of Texans in order to build his racist border wall that few actually want. 

Jared Kushner, the property manager and developer from New York City who is a senior White House advisor, is scheduled to meet with both military and administration officials today to discuss their plans for the U.S. seizing land to build more sections of the wall. 

Below is an excerpt from the piece in NBC News. Find the story in its entirety here. 

Attorneys for the Department of Justice and Department of Defense have prepared letters of rights of entry, informing property owners that government officials will be entering their land to assess the property, test the soil and conduct land surveys, said two officials.

In a typical eminent domain case, the government agrees on an amount of money before it seizes the land. In the past, the government has paid landowners along the Texas-Mexico border $100 for 18 months of unfettered, unannounced access, according to Ricky Garza, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project. Garza’s group represents five Texas landowners whose property is in the path of the planned wall and who oppose its construction.

According to two officials familiar with the process, however, government attorneys may file under the Declaration of Taking Act in federal court in Texas, which could expedite the process for the government purchase of private land along the border.

If the government files under that law, and its action survives expected legal challenges, the title would automatically transfer to the government. The government has to name the price it expects to pay, but actual negotiations with the landowners about the price don’t begin until after the land is taken.

…Garza said there are hundreds if not close to one thousand landowners in Texas who own land in the path of plans for a border wall. The winding Texas border with Mexico is more than 1,200 miles long. Garza added that in Texas, unlike other border states, the majority of the land along the border is private, and has been passed down through families for generations.

According to Mario Carrillo, America’s Voice Texas Director,

The push for Trump’s border wall began as a racist campaign chant. It remains a critical element in Trump’s reelection, which creates a harsh reality for many Texas families who are going to lose their land because of it. Instead of standing up for thousands of their constituents, our state’s two sitting senators have abetted Trump’s Texas land grab. Sens. Cruz and Cornyn have long given up actually representing Texans, and are now just ‘yes’ men to the President, his son-in-law who is overseeing the seizure of land, and his anti-immigrant agenda.

As we prepare for 2020, Texans have made it clear that we’re looking for real leadership and representation. Along with his obsession for a pointless wall, Trump and his cronies have led a campaign to make life miserable for immigrants and asylum seekers, while Cornyn and Cruz just watch on. As the state with the second most immigrants of any state in the union, our state’s success has long-depended on the contributions made by those who have chosen Texas as their home. For the sake of all Texans, we can and should do better. Stealing land from Texas families to give Trump’s campaign a boost is not the way to go.