When the Department of Homeland Security built a border fence a decade ago, it used the federal power of eminent domain to seize hundreds of acres of private property. The land grab resulted in unfair payments and unequal treatment of landowners. As the administration of President Donald Trump prepares to build a new wall, the federal laws which allowed the abuse to occur remain in place without reform.
The federal government’s boldest land grab in a generation produced the first border wall — and a trail of abuse, mistakes and unfairness.
A law is supposed to protect property owners from lowball offers by the government when it takes land through eminent domain. But a letter shows how simple it is for officials to eviscerate what is already a pretty toothless law.
Hidalgo County’s claims of improper enrichment by a former employee and his family are either dismissed or withdrawn. Employee sees vindication; the county says it could appeal or head to federal court.
The latest lawsuit filing in Hidalgo County talks of kickback deals worked out over drinks and steak dinners.
The feds faced a deadline to finish the first version of a border wall. Godfrey Garza Jr. of Hildalgo County, Texas, made it happen, and made himself a small fortune along the way. Other than Garza, no one seems too happy about that.
Scores of Texas landowners in the shadow of the border wall say the government should pay them for their damaged property values.
Customs and Border Protection indicates it will use its own funds to build 3-mile segment of wall amid one of the nation’s most cherished bird-watching locales.
$20 million. That’s enough to cover the cost of seven miles of wall.
Current trade agreements mean foreign companies, including some big firms in Mexico, might well get in on the building of the president’s wall.
The Trump administration solicits bids for first $600 million of work on a wall whose total cost no one knows.
It’ll cost $20 billion or more. Mexico will pay for it, or it won’t. Amid uncertainty, Trump clearly seems intent on making the border wall handsome.