The federal government won the right to take immediate possession of private land along the United States-Mexico border in order to continue construction of the border wall — and it does not appear the Biden administration is giving it back to landowners.
“The federal government can take ‘immediate possession’ of a Texas family’s land along the US-Mexico border after a years-long court battle, a federal judge has ruled — a move at odds with President Joe Biden’s pledge to halt wall construction,” CNN reported Wednesday. “Tuesday’s ruling from Judge Micaela Alvarez of the Texas Southern District Court was a blow to the Cavazos family, who for years have been fighting to keep the land that’s been passed down for generations.”
The federal government, the outlet noted, “filed the motion for possession in 2020, sought ‘to construct, install, operate, and maintain roads, fencing, vehicle barriers, security lighting, cameras, sensors, and related structures designed to help secure the United States/Mexico border within the State of Texas.'”
Previously, most of the border wall had been constructed on land owned by the federal government, but during the Trump administration, the government sought to take control of swaths of private land so that it could build in missing segments of the border wall; eventually, then-President Donald Trump wanted a wall across the full southern border.
Although President Joe Biden halted construction on the border wall with an executive order, signed on the first day of his presidency, the federal government did not drop the lawsuit, the landowners — who told CNN they voted for the Democrat — said.
“Cavazos Rodriguez, who voted for Biden, said she feels betrayed with the latest ruling to seize her family’s land,” she told CNN. “The roughly 70 acres belonging to the Cavazos family hold sentimental value and provide for the family’s livelihood. The family rents out some of the property, serving as a source of income for her siblings.”
“[Biden] did say, not one more foot. And then with this going on, with them taking possession, they can do whatever they want now,” she added.
It is possible that the Biden administration plans to make good on some of the Trump administration’s plans, particularly the plan to fill in the gaps between existing segments of the border wall, according to a report from the New York Post.
“The White House is considering a return to construction of the southern border wall, in order to fill in ‘gaps’ made all the more glaring by the sudden immigration crisis,” the outlet noted in March. ‘Speaking to Immigration and Customs Enforcement staffers last week, according to notes from the meeting reviewed by the Washington Times, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Customs and Border Protection had submitted a plan to his department on what it wanted to see moving forward.”
Although Biden froze funding for the wall, Mayorkas reportedly said, the executive order “leaves room to make decisions as the administration, as part of the administration, in particular areas of the wall that need renovation, particular projects that need to be finished.”
Construction, Mayorkas said, “could resume in gaps, gates, and areas where the wall had been built but planned technology had not been installed,” according to the report.
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