As President Donald Trump continues to pursue a useless and expensive wall on the southern border, Texas landowners are prepared to take his administration to court in defense of property that has been in their families for generations.
Most of the land along the border in Texas is privately held, unlike borderlands in other states. Nevertheless, Trump wants to seize hundreds of miles of this land to build his wall, which smugglers have already proved they can easily climb or cut through to cross over into the United States.
Not only is Trump’s wall a waste of money and useless against drug cartels and migrants seeking a better life, but it’s also a potential environmental disaster that is already destroying lands protected by law and would block wildlife migrations.
But there are many Americans along the Texas border who are fighting back in defense of their rights, including David Acevedo, who told NPR that the Trump administration has yet to explain exactly why they want part of his land.
“They didn’t tell us that they were doing a physical barrier,” he said. “They said, ‘It may be a wall, it may be that we just need lights, we’re going to put lighting up, it may be we just need a road.’”
The sad part is that the government doesn’t need any of that to secure the border.
“Get them helicopters, get them drones, get vehicles, get them technology,” Acevedo said. “But when they come and they say they’re going to take something by eminent domain or whatever, that’s when I put my foot down.”
Indeed, Congress passed funding that would provide that technology to Border Patrol, but Trump refuses to spend the money on anything other than a wall, a structure that no one really wants to be built on their land.
“We were astonished,” Texas landowner and Afghanistan war veteran Salvador Castillo told the Washington Post. “We were like, ‘Hell no!’ We don’t like this. It’s very intrusive.”
“I stopped answering the door,” Castillo’s wife Yvette Arroyo said. “Going to battle against the federal government is not something we will win. But we are not going to take this lying down.”
The same is true of hundreds of other landowners who are also faced with being booted off their own land for Trump’s vanity project.
Attorney Ricky Garza represents many of them, and he hopes landowners think twice before just signing their land away to a tyrannical administration that declared a fake “national emergency” in desperation to build a wall that won’t work.
“A landowner is under no obligation to sign that right of entry to allow them free access to the property, but it’s in the government’s interest [to have them sign],” Garza said in a statement. “They don’t want the landowners to ever see the inside of a courtroom. I wish we had good data on where these right of entry letters have gone out and what percentage of people gave signed them.”
Clearly, Texas landowners are prepared to show Trump why no one should mess with their state. Unfortunately, an authoritarian like Trump won’t be swayed by legal decisions, even if the courts ultimately side with landowners in this dispute.
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