Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Homeland Security is suing landowners to build the border wall

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid issued the following press release:

WESLACO, Texas – Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), the leading provider of legal aid in Texas, is making itself available to border landowners facing lawsuits from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for access to their land to build a wall along the Texas-Mexico border.
The lawsuits come after DHS requested access to landowners’ property to plan the location of a wall along the United States – Mexico border. Approximately 600 landowners received requests and an estimated 70 Texas landowners who refused to comply are expected to be sued by Homeland Security as a result.

DHS’s first lawsuit was filed against the City of Eagle Pass on Monday. That same day United States District Judge Alia M. Ludlum ruled on the matter and ordered Eagle Pass to allow government surveyors to access 233 acres of city land for 180 days. In exchange, the federal government paid $100. The orders came without any opportunity for the City of Eagle Pass to voice an objection.

According to TRLA attorney Rebecca Webber, “The fact that the Department of Homeland Security would resort to these fly-by-night tactics in Eagle Pass signals that a tough legal battle lies ahead. We’re preparing for it.”

Border landowners throughout Texas have been anticipating the federal government’s actions for several months. Members of GLOW (Granjeno Landowners Opposed to the Wall) have spent the last two weeks waiting for any sign that the government will be taking legal action against them.

“Many of these landowners are afraid that the government is going to take away land that has been in their families for hundreds of years. They may not have much, but they’re willing to fight to keep it,” added Webber. “For many of them, the anxiety of not knowing what is going to happen has been stressful enough.”

TRLA has partnered with the South Texas Civil Rights Project to provide free legal services to landowners needing representation, regardless of their income level. The groups are available to make referrals to private attorneys, provide general legal advice, and represent landowners in government lawsuits.

“Texas RioGrande Legal Aid is available to provide free legal advice at every step of this process,” added Executive Director David Hall. “If landowners don’t want the wall built on their land or want to make sure that they get the best possible price for their property, we can help.”
TRLA encourages landowners needing legal assistance regarding the border wall to call 1-866-757-1570.

Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality civil legal assistance and related educational services.

Rebecca Webber, Attorney

Cynthia Martinez, Communications Director


Anonymous said...

Homeland Security has won the law suite and now has full access to the disputed land required to construct the border fence. Why would any true red-blooded American citizen have any complaints about better securing the border? Since the Rio Grande is no longer being respected as the border between two countries, the barrier is the only answer to at least slow the flow of illegal immigration. So. whats the problem?


If you are asking "what's the problem?" you cldarly have not been paying attention, and you probably did not read the blog. TRLA is representing private property owners whose homes, farms, and businesses will be condemned to build the wall. If you are looking forward to your house being bulldozed, your farm being split in half, or losing your access to the only fresh water in the area, you are likely to see that as a problem. If you care about the environment, and you don't want to see endangered species like the ocelot and jaguarundi driven to extinction, you should see the wall as a problem. If you care about Congress spending $46 billion on a wall that will only slow crossers down by 5 minutes, and which the Congressional Research Service has determined has "no discernible impact" on the number of immigrants residing illegally in the United States, you should look at the border wall as a problem.

The border wall certainly is not "the only answer to at least slow the flow of illegal immigration." Slowing a crosser by 5 minutes is not slowing the flow of immigration. The crosser that was slowed still gets in. The wall is completely useless. The only thing that it will do is rip apart our borderlands, and make the United States look like a pathetic, fearful country to the rest of the world. Why are we afraid of Mexico? The United States spends more on its military than the next 10 largest militaries COMBINED. many of those nations, like Britain, are our allies and are more likely to support us than attack us. Mexico does not even make the list. They are not a threat.

Ron K. said...

To Anonymous,

Few people are more against illegal immigration than I am and many of my colleagues strongly disagree with me. However, the wall is definitely not the answer. The people who will lose their property, livelihood, and way of life have every right to receive help in any ethical and legal manner possible. The TRLA is the only place these people have to turn in the face of governmental abuse of power. The TRLA deserves commendation for their assistance to these unfortunate citizens who should have the expectation of fairness to avoid overrunning of their basic rights by the decisions of an ignorant government appointee who has no understanding of the basic tenets of ecology or biology.

The wall is an unnecessary, ill-conceived anthropogenic ecological and social disaster.

To No Border Wall,

Thank you for your concise synopsis. Such comments help those people who are unable to read your complete blog or who might misinterpret your position. Please consider more synopses because they are clearly needed by abstract-minded people who require summarization of ideas that otherwise require critical thinking skills.

Anonymous said...
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