Skip to comments.Trump Admin. Prepares Court Filings to Seize Private Land in Texas for Border Wall
Posted on 11/15/2019 8:24:34 AM PST by BeauBo
The Trump administration is preparing to submit court filings as early as next week as a necessary step toward seizing private land in Texas for its wall on the border with Mexico, NBC reported Thursday. Administration officials still havent said how much the government will compensate affected landowners.
I still think were on track to get the land we need for 450 miles of border wall, Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan told reporters on Thursday.
The government may file to appropriate the land in federal court in Texas under the Declaration of Taking Act, which would expedite the appropriation process. The law, which is meant to be used in emergencies, allows the federal government to take over the land before beginning negotiations with its former owners over compensation.
Department of Justice and Department of Defense attorneys have already prepared letters of rights of entry, which inform property owners of the governments impending use of their land. Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is scheduled to meet with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers chief of engineers Todd Semonite, Assistant Defense Secretaries Kenneth Rapuano and Robert Salesses, and other officials Friday at the White House to discuss taking over lands on the southern border.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Efforts to acquire the land have been underway for two years, but it is conventional wisdom down there to hold out for a better price. About 400 landowners are involved for the contracted miles, and up to 1,000 are likely before the whole program is complete.
Eminent Domain (and the emergency declaration) can allow the Government to take possession of the needed land in a matter of days, and negotiate the compensation later. Some cases from the Bush-era Secure Fence Act construction remained unsettled ten years after the barrier was built.
These reported court filings likely indicate that construction on those 108 miles is about to begin in earnest - perhaps a dozen or more crews working simultaneously there, early next year.
Thank you for posting this.
I appreciate all of your updates on the progress of the wall.
Are the words, “eminent domain,” in the article?
We went through this before. No thanks to Kay Bailey Hitchenson (R-TX) who stopped the fence building by allowing law suits from land owners.
Being .gov, they have a horrible track record on paying the right owners or even taking the right property.
'An investigation by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune shows that Homeland Security cut unfair real estate deals, secretly waived legal safeguards for property owners, and ultimately abused the governments extraordinary power to take land from private citizens. The major findings:
** Homeland Security circumvented laws designed to help landowners receive fair compensation. The agency did not conduct formal appraisals of targeted parcels. Instead, it issued low-ball offers based on substandard estimates of property values.
** Larger, wealthier property owners who could afford lawyers negotiated deals that, on average, tripled the opening bids from Homeland Security. Smaller and poorer landholders took whatever the government offered or wrung out small increases in settlements. The government conceded publicly that landowners without lawyers might wind up shortchanged, but did little to protect their interests.
** The Justice Department bungled hundreds of condemnation cases. The agency took property without knowing the identity of the actual owners. It condemned land without researching facts as basic as property lines. Landholders spent tens of thousands of dollars to defend themselves from the governments mistakes.
** The government had to redo settlements with landowners after it realized it had failed to account for the valuable water rights associated with the properties, an oversight that added months to the compensation process.
** On occasion, Homeland Security paid people for property they did not actually own. The agency did not attempt to recover the misdirected taxpayer funds, instead paying for land a second time once it determined the correct owners.
** Nearly a decade later, scores of landowners remain tangled in lawsuits. The government has already taken their land and built the border fence. But it has not resolved claims for its value.'
I can think of no other reason except maybe they themselves are crossing the border illegally back and forth for whatever purpose..
I hope the government can prevail on this issue.
For the life of me, if the land isn’t in use to begin with, why would folks have a problem with the government purchasing the land?
If it’s being used get an honest assessment and go from there.
I live on a very small piece of property (in city) and if I could have a wall built that would stop the criminal element from coming into my country I’d give the go ahead.
“I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Sheesh, what a bunch of screw-ups.
“The Trump administration is preparing to submit court filings as early as next week as a necessary step toward seizing private land in Texas”
It seems to me the only folks that would object to the wall are the ones that don’t have an endless streams of illegals crossing their land.
It is called Eminent Domain.
The acquisition of land has been a process that has been going on before start of President Trump’s term of office.
Just more scare media from the fake news media.
So much of the Texas Rio grande border is rocks, rattle snakes, scorpions scrub brush. Hotter than hell during the day and water is hard to come by. You can walk for days and never see civilization. Most border town residents live in poverty. Government subsidies. Lots of folks there love the isolation. Getting a fat payout from government will help out the small land owners. Not so much for the monster ranches though. Hope they sell quickly.
“Are the words, eminent domain, in the article?”
The article states “The government may file to appropriate the land in federal court in Texas under the Declaration of Taking Act”
(The) Declaration of Taking Act is a Federal Law governing the taking of private property for public use under eminent domain. (https://definitions.uslegal.com/d/declaration-of-taking-act/).
Land acquisition has delayed construction in the Valley. The President was widely reported to have directed the responsible Government officials to “take the land” a few months back. This appears to be the implementation of that directive. It is the only way they will achieve their announced schedule.
CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan re-iterated that schedule (450 miles complete next year) yesterday (14 Nov).
I am sure there is a slice of your own property that could be forcibly taken from you too, described in a similar fashion.
Are you people for real???? I pay 1,000.00 per acre of land and the government pays me 75.00 an acre!!! And it takes 10 years to get paid!!! This is theft pure and simple.
I honestly don’t believe you guys are conservatives!!
Give market value and pay it immediately
It is called Eminent Domain. Governments use it to acquire highway right of way, land for schools, utility e3asements, army bases. No big deal. Routine.
As long as the land owners are being compensated fairly take it.
Some don’t want the Wall for ideological reasons.
I say fine, don’t build the Wall there. Funnel the illegals over their land. See if they cry ‘Uncle’.
If not a reception committee can be waiting at those locations.
“I am sure there is a slice of your own property that could be forcibly taken from you too, described in a similar fashion.”
that’s actually true for ALL property owners: eminent domain for all levels of government stems from The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which contains the Takings Clause, that allows the federal government to take private property for public use if the government provides “just compensation.”
Almost all governmental bodies, including Federal, State, County, City, and certain governmental districts constituted by one of the above have the absolute right to exercise eminent domain, that is, taking private property for public use.
State Constitutions all have similar clauses.
The absolute right of the government to take property for public use is never in dispute (except when the government oversteps and tries to take land for private use). What is also never in dispute is that the government can take the property prior to payment, if prior agreement cannot be reached regarding “just compensation”.
What CAN be in dispute is “just compensation”. Frequently, but not always, the property owner simply wants to stall the takings process and/or extort the governmental body for more than the property is worth.
As a former city councilman who was occasionally involved in such property takings for projects like road construction and utility easements, our government could almost always reach a satisfactory valuation with the owner. The way we did this (and i think most governments do) is to use an independent arbitration body composed of independent professional property assessors appointed by each side to determine just compensation.
Almost always this would result in an non-adversarial outcome, but rarely a property owner was recalcitrant and sought to stall and/or extort. At that point, we would threaten immediate taking (something we always sought to avoid if at all possible), and almost always the recalcitrant owner would suddenly reach agreement for just compensation prior to taking. In fact, I can’t remember a single case where we actually had to take property prior to agreement, though we could have if we absolutely had to.
My understanding is that in the first few months of the Trump administration, there was a significant increase in the cost estimate for the Wall (up to $20-25 billion), and that increased budget for buying land was one of the drivers.
There was discussion back then to ensure that the lessons learned from the Bush-era land condemnations (takings) were addressed.
We will probably see how this round is shaping up over the next few weeks.
We can only hope it gets resolved soon and under way.
That's how it ought to be done, agreed.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.