IMMIGRATION/MEXICO/WALL/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “…For years, the federal government has pondered a way to build a stronger barrier across it to halt illegal immigration from Mexico.
In February, federal authorities made the long-looming threat concrete. A letter from the U.S. attorney in southern Texas informed the Benavides family that the government intends to seize a 60-foot-wide strip of the property to build new sections of a border wall.
‘It’s a beautiful piece of land, just like it was when the original settlers came over,’ Noel Benavides, 74, Cecilia’s husband, said of the rustic plot where bobcats and peccaries roam. ‘You go in, and it’s a different world — but that’s not going to be once we have a big wall that cuts through the ecosystem.’
A string of ranchers, farmers and others who own property across the Rio Grande Valley have received similar condemnation letters from the Department of Justice in recent months, all resulting from a 2006 initiative launched by President George W. Bush to build new, secure fencing along the Southwest border.
The land condemnations are expected to increase substantially with President Trump’s plans to build new sections of wall. Already, Trump has requested that Congress fund the hiring of 20 additional federal attorneys to work on land acquisition for a border wall.
The initiative has sparked deep worry here, where many landowners fear it will change the character of their historic communities, cut off water access, stifle commerce and disrupt the movement of wildlife.”
-Jenny Jarvie, “Trump promised a border wall. Now these Texans worry the government will take their land,” The Los Angeles Times online, April 7, 2017