Trump Administration Speeds Up Land Seizures Amid Pandemic to Finish Border Wall

click to enlarge President Trump visits the U.S.-Mexico border last year to see the installation of a new section of wall. - CBP PHOTOGRAPHY
CBP Photography
President Trump visits the U.S.-Mexico border last year to see the installation of a new section of wall.
Moving under cover of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration has stepped up seizures of private land to complete its pinche border wall.

Citing national security risks, the White House has continued seizing property using eminent domain, the government power to take privately owned land so long as the landowners are compensated, Yahoo Finance reports.

“Since the month of March, the government has filed 24 new condemnation cases to try to take private property from South Texas landowners,” Efren Olivares, a legal director for Texas Civil Rights Project, told the news organization. “That’s more than they had filed in the previous eight months. So, we’ve definitely seen a spike in efforts since the pandemic began.”

Beyond the legal implications, Olivares said the seizures put older and physically vulnerable residents at risk as they try to maintain social distance.

"[W]hile they try to shelter at home, we have a client who’s 75 years old," he said. "And the government is trying to send out surveyors and construction crews to his home property as part of this effort to continue building.”

The administration has brought 78 lawsuits against landowners along the border as part of its seizure effort, according to a recent New York Times analysis. It filed 30 of those since January.

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