In the final days of the presidential election, President Donald Trump and senior government officials used the border wall as the cornerstone of his first term.
Trump said at a rally in Arizona on Wednesday: “Under my leadership, we have achieved the safest border in American history.” “We have built nearly 400 miles.”
On the other hand, thousands of Texas residents are facing legal challenges and pandemics.
Ricky Garza, the current lawyer of the Texas Civil Rights Project, a legal advocacy organization, said: “Now people must choose between health and housing.” The organization is currently handling eight plots of land on behalf of landowners. Confiscation case.
According to court documents, between May and October 22, Texas filed 75 private land lawsuits, up from 17 lawsuits in the same period last year. A U.S. official confirmed to CNN that the U.S. government is acquiring private land at a faster rate to achieve the goals of the White House.
Usually, the government is allowed to purchase private land for public use, which is the so-called “territory.” The border barrier established under the leadership of the previous government has been greatly improved in areas where the federal government owns land, but as Trump promised, the expansion of the wall requires the expropriation of private land.
Garza said: “The government chose to prosecute people during a pandemic in one of the most vulnerable areas of the United States.” “If there are concerns about the people in southern Texas, who have experienced one of the most severe public health crises, none of these lawsuits will go away. It was mentioned after March 1, but there were dozens of them here.”
Many of the people represented by the Texas Civil Rights Project are elderly people who are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic. Garza said that although some hearings can be virtual, this is not a tacit approval, it depends on the trial judge.
The Cavazos family in southern Texas are those who are at risk of losing their land. Approximately 70 acres of land have been passed down from generation to generation and have emotional value and provide conditions for families to earn a living.
“This was passed on to us by our grandmother in the early 1950s,” said Bodilla “Lilly” Cavazos Rodriguez. He is one of three brothers and sisters, two of whom live on the property. “She bought this land herself. As a Hispanic woman, they wouldn’t let her sign for it. My uncle and dad signed it before World War II.”
The family rented some property, but the government is trying to divide the land. Cavazos Rodriguez said: “We don’t want to give up, we don’t want to sell. It has nothing to do with money, it has to do with keeping what our grandmother wants us to keep.” The acquisition process started at least in April 2018 .
An official from the Customs and Border Protection Bureau told CNN that during the pandemic, the government is taking preventive measures to contact landowners, such as by telephone instead of in person, adding that exceptions are handled on a case-by-case basis. Some landlords are willing to hand over their land.
Outstanding field cases can be very long-months to years-although they usually do not prevent the institution from continuing to build. Land owners are usually fighting for so-called compensation-what they think is a fair price for their property.
Cavazos Rodriguez told CNN: “As far as Covid-19 is concerned, this has been difficult.” “People we know have left Covid-19. We have been trying to be cautious.”
Trump administration doubles land seizures
Republican Representative Will Hurd, who represents most of the Texas-Mexico border, said in a statement to CNN that the private property rights of landowners should be respected during the construction process. .
Hurd said: “In places where physical barriers are increasing, we must respect the private property rights of landowners on borders that are threatened by prominent territories. Taking land from Texans and surrendering cultivated land to find an ineffective solution is Bad policy,” Hurd said. “Comprehensive border control means deploying the right tools in the right areas.”
The Department of Homeland Security has passed the abandonment law to speed up construction. For example, in October 2018, Kirstjen Nielsen, then Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, gave up more than two dozen laws to accelerate the construction of the Texas border wall, including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Law, Safe Drinking Water Law and Migratory Bird Protection Law, etc.
This has also become a point of contention between the government and environmental organizations, the latter has sued the Trump administration to stop the construction of the border wall.
The pace of construction and accumulation of lawsuits surprised many people, including the landlords.
Cavazos Rodriguez said: “In terms of how things are going, progress is fast. We don’t know what will happen next.”