A new poll out by non-partisan Texas group The Texas Lyceum shows Texans oppose the border wall by 61%. Even more surprising, 62% believe immigration helps the United States more than it hurts it. The same percentage answered “no” to the question, “Do you want Trump to deport millions of illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S.?” (KVUE)
This begs the question, why did Texas vote for Trump? This was one of the major issues he ran on, and it affects Texas primarily, especially the wall. Many citizens will be directly impacted as the government uses eminent domain to seize their property for the construction of Trump’s big, beautiful, terrific wall along the border. Some may even find their homes on the “wrong side” of the wall, as I noted before:
The border wall is opposed 58% – 28%, by the majority of Americans.
“I don’t like the concept – I don’t think it’s needed – of a 2,000-mile wall as some envision,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., whose state is home to some of the most rugged terrain along the border. “It’s just not needed. In some areas you just don’t need it. In some areas you need wall, in some areas you need fences. In some areas you need surveillance.” (AP)
Our border with Mexico is formed by the Rio Grande, which obviously cannot have a wall built in it. The banks of the river are governed by an international treaty that requires the wall to be built two miles north of the official border. This would require use of eminent domain and either access gaps for landowners or giving up land to Mexico. (Bloomberg)
Some Texans are still embroiled in lawsuits from the last round of fence building which took place eleven years ago under then President George W. Bush. Three hundred twenty eminent domain cases have ended up in the same courtroom, that of Judge Hanen. Ninety-one cases are still open.
“You have to realize these are everyday people living their ordinary life, and all of a sudden the government knocks on their door and says, ‘We want your backyard,’ ” Hanen says. “I mean, all of a sudden they’re facing the might of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, and all of a sudden, they’re a defendant in a lawsuit through no fault of their own.” (NPR)
What is the problem? Well, in many instances, the family trees complicate things. It is difficult for the government to determine the rightful owners or heirs of the property. In others, it is a matter of the landowners not wishing to sell, or wanting more money than the government is prepared to give. In still others, the residents do not agree with the concept at all; they feel it is their duty to block it however they can.
Trump’s wall would require a great deal more land and more use of eminent domain than the Secure Fence Act of 2006. And eleven years later, the government is still battling to settle the lawsuits in court. Based on that alone, it does not look promising. And with 61% of Texans opposed to it, the future of the Trump Wall gets even bleaker.