A truck drives near the Mexico-US border fence (AP/Christian Torres)

Donald Trump's Mexican Border wall is happening, and he's taking Texans' land for it

The eminent domain was not allowed when George W. Bush tried it last decade


Matthew Rozsa
March 16, 2017 2:13AM (UTC)

It has already been reported that many West Texans are opposed to President Donald Trump's proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, but now it appears that one group with a particularly strong reason to dislike it — individuals who own land that the government might covet for building that wall — are in danger of having their property seized from them.

Maria Flores, a Texas woman who along with her siblings co-owns 1.2 acres near the town of Los Ebanos, received a letter in the week before Trump's inauguration declaring that the government would seize her land using eminent domain.

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Flores was offered $2,900 for the land, the same amount that was offered when President George W. Bush's administration attempted to seize their land to build a wall more than a decade ago. The Bush administration ultimately had to abandon their efforts due to a U.S.-Mexico treaty that prohibits building structures in the Texas floodplain that could result in flooding of nearby communities. However, the Department of Homeland Security successfully lobbied to the International Boundary and Water Commission (which manages the treaty) to build a wall in the floodplain in 2012, setting a precedent that could be used against Flores.

Constructing the border wall has been fraught with difficulty since Trump took office. In addition to costing at least $20 billion to construct, the Trump wall is having trouble getting through Congress because of the numerous government agencies that need to address the logistics of constructing it. As one former homeland security official told The Guardian last month, "He hasn’t made any progress other than to say, we’re going to do it. They’re pretty far away. I don’t think they’ve made much progress."


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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