Lupita Rios lives in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas with her family and voted for Donald Trump in 2016 because she says she wanted to stop undocumented immigrants from coming into the United States.
But Rios and others in her neighborhood are terrified that their land will be seized so that Trump can build his long-promised border wall:
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“This is our land.”
“They can’t leave us on the Mexican side.”
Actually, they can, and they may, stranding thousands of Texas residents in a sort of no-man’s land from which the only escape is abandoning their property and rebuilding their lives elsewhere. That could be too expensive for many of the people who live in this part of the Lone Star state.
Roma, Texas, Assistant City Manager Freddy Guerra said he cannot get any answers on what exactly the government has planned:
“Are they going to go through those houses? The [river]banks? Will there be a gate there?We haven’t received a definitive answer from Border Patrol.”
If Trump gets the $5 billion he’s demanding from Congress, many people in the Rio Grande Valley could see their lives in turmoil, the Los Angeles Times reports:
“Although Trump has made the building of the wall a centerpiece of administration’s policy, plans for new border barriers have been in the works for years and construction of the first $1.4-billion stretch of mostly bollard fencing has quietly proceeded in Texas, Arizona and California. The Department of Homeland Security says it will build more than 330 miles of wall in the Border Patrol’s highest priority areas if Congress approves Trump’s $5-billion request. Nearly a third of that would be in the agency’s Rio Grande Valley Sector.”
The government can indeed take land via eminent domain, which Trump has praised when it comes to land he wanted to build on. In 1998, Trump hounded a senior citizen for her property:
“Trump has a well-established history of affection for eminent domain use and abuse. Most famously, he hounded an elderly widow, Vera Coking, in Atlantic City to give up her house so he could build a limousine parking lot for the now-failed Trump Taj Mahal casino. Coking refused, and with the help of the nonprofit Institute for Justice (IJ), she won her case.”
And now, as president, Trump is in the position to destroy the lives of thousands of people just so he can keep a ridiculous promise he made to his rabid base of supporters. But in the process, he may well wind up ruining the lives of those who cast their ballots for him.
Featured Image Via the BBC