DHS, DOJ Gearing Up to Seize Americans’ Land For Trump’s Border Wall

Yvette Salinas and her family own 16 acres of land in Texas, not far from the Rio Grande River. She says her family has lived on and tended to the modest plot for five generations, so long ago that no one in Salinas’ family remembers exactly when they first came there.

In 2008, Salinas’ mother, Aleida Flores, says the Department of Homeland Security contacted her to inform her that, due to then-President Bush’s Secure Fence Act of 2006, a portion of her land would be acquired. A letter from DHS stated that a 1.2 acre section would have to be sold to the federal government, otherwise it would be seized without consent.

Given this was the last year of Bush’s administration, Flores and her family held off making a decision regarding the DHS’ ultimatum. To their good fortune, Barack Obama soon entered the White House and made building the barrier on the Mexico – U.S. border a low priority.

This changed, however, at the beginning of 2017, not long after Donald Trump’s presidential win. According to Salinas, her mother was served with a “Declaration of Taking” from the DHS just a few weeks into January. As in 2008, the document outlined the federal government’s intent to purchase the 1.2 acre plot for $2,900.

Were Flores not to comply, the DHS letter explains that “eminent domain” would enable the government to acquire the land irrespective of Flores’ decision.

The legality of exercising eminent domain in the United States originates from the Fifth Amendment. Here, the Constitution states that the government can seize property but must provide “just compensation.” In the years since, this process has been clarified by the U.S. Supreme Court and executive orders which require eminent domain acquisition to occur only in the “purpose of benefiting the general public.”

Salinas says other people in the Los Ebanos, Texas, area with land are recieving similar letters from the DHS. She finds the letter intimidating, explaining that “you feel like you have to sign.”

Salinas’ family and their neighbors are unlikely to be the only private landowners on the Mexico – U.S. border to be compelled to sell pieces of their property to the government.

A look at a White House document outlining the Trump administration’s recently announced budget shows how seriously this push to acquire property for the border wall will be. It explains that part of the funding going into the Department of Justice in the coming fiscal year will be reserved for hiring 20 new lawyers whose jobs it will be to secure plots of private land and deal with owners who opt to turn down voluntary acquisition requests.

Readers may recall the spectacle that was the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff in Oregon last year or the preceding incident involving the Bundy family of Nevada in 2014.

Both of these situations revolved around a long standing legal dispute between the Bundys, a family of cattle ranchers, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The former were informed that they had illegally used government land for grazing purposes; when the BLM sought to enforce this, they faced armed opposition from the Bundys as well as others, many of whom consider themselves “sovereign citizens.”

These individuals – identified by the FBI as among the country’s largest domestic terrorism threat – rallied around the Bundys and their struggle.

Now that we’re refreshed on that situation, let us consider whether these individuals would be likely to come to the aid of people like Aleida Flores, a woman whose Latino family actually legally possesses and has lived on their land for many generations. Would the Bundys and their supporters oppose the creation of Trump’s border wall to protect citizens’ right to hold onto their properties?

The landowners in Los Ebanos are on the front line of Trump’s border wall project but it certainly won’t end there. It will be interesting to see whether those like the Bundys will make a similar stand to deter eminent domain acquisitions.

Though I cannot speak for the Bundys, somehow it seems highly unlikely.

Photo Credit: Rex_Wholster / Thinkstock

85 comments

Carl R
Carl R24 days ago

Thanks!!!

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heather g
heather gabout a month ago

If US Law states that land can only be seized for the “purpose of benefiting the general public.” then this seizure is illegal. The group should sue the govt on those grounds and not suffer in silence.

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a month ago

thanks!!!

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Regus Slantei
Regus Slanteiabout a month ago

I quote: "Our biggest problem is the continuous an immense flow of liberal fake news that produces millions of ill and under informed liberals."

Apparently, David F. wrote that with no sense of irony, or of embarrassment for his blatant use of sophomoric projection.

He takes one of the longstanding, measurably confirmed, core problems of modern [R]s and blindly projects it onto his 'enemy' the [D]s. HIS Cheetolino President is caught in a stupendous LIE almost daily, HE and the brainless FoxNews gulag always deny it is is LIE despite the verdict of facts, and so therefore HE claims it is the [D]s who are the ones affected by fake news?????? What a friggin' joke!

Rightwing Teatards like David F. are embalmed with fake-news. If they didn't have fake news, they would evaporate into thin air!!

I have confronted David F. continuously here on Care2 for years concerning his partisan-based lies and his lack of any intellectual heft in defending them. And he has NOT, even ONCE, been able to respond with two cogently constructed statements based on facts.

Oh, and please join me in reminding David, yet again, that he wouldn't know a 'liberal' if one shat on his empty head.

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Judie B
Judie Babout a month ago

Let me know when the wall falls on Trumplethinskin and buries him alive.

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Karen Swenson
Karen Swensonabout a month ago

@Brian F--Will you shut the HELL up about your Fake news about Hillary--Why do you keep whining like some demented dog at the dinner table?. The people--PEOPLE wanted Hillary as their President by 3million popular votes and Bernie Sanders supported and voted for her! So put on your big boy pants on and deal with what we have NOW, which is A crazy Psychopath in the White House. How long are you going to bitch about something you have NO IDEA OF WHAT THE OUTCOME WOULD HAVE BEEN--

@David F---There is NO ONE more ill-informed than you Conservatives being spoon fed poisoned formula.. One Moron Trump supporter was praising Trump for her sons health care and about how wonderful it was---She was talking about Obama care. She didn't even have a clue Trumps plan wasn't even a plan yet! That is how stupid your fake news Trump supporters are.

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David F
David Fabout a month ago

Pam W, the issue is not so much that our sanctuary cities are protecting foreign illegal criminals that add to our own internal problems, or the liberals attack on every form of US morality training.
Our biggest problem is the continuous an immense flow of liberal fake news that produces millions of ill and under informed liberals.

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pam w
pam wabout a month ago

David F...yes, that's a terrible crime. HOW MANY YOUNG GIRLS HAVE BEEN RAPED BY US CITIZENS? Yesterday, working at Planned Parenthood, I helped a 17-year-old AUTISTIC patient who had been beaten and raped by some boys at her high school. (At least, she won't have to continue that pregnancy.) She's gone to school with them all her life. "Dreamers?" NOPE! Meanwhile, my friend Rocio (brought here as an infant in her father's arms) is a wonderful person--exactly the woman who lives the "American dream." If you're worried about news media not reporting rapes....worry about ALL of them....not just those performed by immigrants. And, if you're worried about news media not discussing ''dreamers,'' worry about all of those...not just the ones who commit crimes.

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David F
David Fabout a month ago

I doubt Llowell Williams would reveal the other side of his story.

Thursday two apparent Dreamers, one from Guatemala 18, and one from El Salvador 17, both attending as Freshmen in a Maryland public school brutally raped and sodomized a 14 year old classmate over a toilet leaving her injured and the stall bloodied.
One held her mouth shut trying to squelch her screams.

The usual Fake news propagandist ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN Care2 authors and MSNBC all chose to censor this national news from their victims because it might add support what President Trump is doing.

http://www.wnd.com/2017/03/sanctuary-policies-led-to-brutal-bathroom-rape-of-14-year-old-schoolgirl/

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Brian F
Brian Fabout a month ago

Regus This fraud Trump wouldn't have been president if gullible corporate fake democrats like you had supported Bernie Sanders instead of your corporatist and war monger, Hillary. So you and your brainwashed corporate fake democrats are to blame for this fraud, Trump. Bernie Sanders is the true leader of the democratic party. It's time for corporate fake democrats like you to accept that, or leave the party.

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