The construction of the Trump Administration’s border walls has faced many challenges. Funding delays, improper construction contracts, and court proceedings all have impeded progress on the wall. One of the most significant barriers to the continued construction, however, is the reluctance and, in some cases, refusal of private landowners to sell the land to the government that is necessary to accommodate the wall.
This problem is especially acute in southern Texas, where the government intends to erect 162 miles of the wall. However, 144 of those 162 miles fall on private land. Since 2017, the Trump Administration has managed to acquire only three of the 144 miles of privately-owned land that they need to continue construction of the wall.
Unfortunately, eminent domain laws state that ultimately the federal government can take the land. Landowners can allow the government to survey their property and pay them for it now, or they can pursue the matter in court and argue for a higher payment. However, the eminent domain process can allow the government to begin construction on private land, even before the landowners have received compensation, and even if the matter remains in litigation for years. If government lawyers characterize the seizure of property as an “emergency,” they likely will be able to proceed with construction despite the dispute. To give an example as to how protracted litigation might be, 46 eminent domain lawsuits are still pending from when former President George W. Bush authorized the construction of fencing along the border in 2006.
The planned construction of the wall in this case is even more devastating to Americans who own land along the border than it was when the Bush administration wanted to build a fence. The wall is slated to run not along the border, which follows the Rio Grande, but well within the American side. As a result, the wall will cut off far more access to land for these landowners. For one farmer, the wall will cut off access to 350 of the 525 acres that he owns.
No matter the type of immigration issue you are facing, the skilled and knowledgeable immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland are here to assist you. We handle many different types of immigration cases every day and have the kind of strategic experience and skills that are necessary to reach the desired outcome. By calling our office as quickly as possible after your legal issue arises, we will have the best opportunity to resolve your immigration law case successfully.