Trump Administration Sues to Seize Land From Private Property Owners for Border Wall

click to enlarge President Donald Trump reviews U.S. Customs and Border Protection's wall prototypes in Otay Mesa, California, last year. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / U.S. WHITE HOUSE
Wikimedia Commons / U.S. White House
President Donald Trump reviews U.S. Customs and Border Protection's wall prototypes in Otay Mesa, California, last year.
The Trump Administration has filed three lawsuits this month to take property from landowners to build the president's promised border wall, the Associated Press reports.

Department of Justice lawyers moved to seize land in one case ahead of a scheduled February court hearing, according to the AP. Federal officials also say they're prepared to file more suits in coming weeks, using eminent domain to take private property.

Since President Donald Trump took office, the federal government has built just 90 miles of border fence, most of it replacing existing barriers. The president has said he wants to construct 500 miles by the end of 2020, suggesting the administration wants to pick up the pace prior to the election.

Ricky Garza, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, recently told the Texas Tribune he's urging clients not to permit the government to access their property.

"A landowner is under no obligation to sign that right of entry to allow them free access to the property, but it’s in the government’s interest [to have them sign]," Garza said. "They don’t want the landowners to ever see the inside of a courtroom."

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