If you own commercial or any other type of private land along the Mexican border of the Rio Grande Valley, you need to know about the continuing efforts of the U.S. government to take such land by eminent domain in order to construct portions of the border wall across it.
Per an NBC News report late last year, President Trump invoked the Declaration of Taking Act on Feb. 15, 2019, with regard to South Texas land abutting the U.S.-Mexico border. Consequently, this land became available to government officials.
Department of Justice actions
By the end of 2019, DOJ officials had mailed written notices to affected landowners of the government’s intent to enter their lands so as to do the following:
- Survey the land
- Test the soil
- Assess the property
Unlike in regular condemnation proceedings, however, no DOJ official met with any landowner to negotiate a price for the affected land. Given that the DTA amounts to an emergency proclamation, it allows government officials to basically seize the lands it wants without going through normal eminent domain processes and procedures to do so.
The government’s determination to build a new 450-mile stretch of the border wall puts you in jeopardy of losing your land for less than adequate compensation. Your best interests dictate that you do everything legally possible to avoid this outcome. Several affected landowners have already filed lawsuits seeking to delay what they perceive as a government land grab, or at least to assure that they receive the due process and reasonable purchase prices to which they believe themselves entitled.