Friday, January 25, 2019

Suffering from Trump's eminent-domain tyranny

  In my blog post, “Stealing Land to Build Trump’s Wall,” I explained how a system of immigration controls, in general, entail tyrannical enforcement measures and how Trump’s wall, in particular, entails the use of eminent domain to steal people’s land on which to build the wall.

  Coincidentally, Global Village Space published an article detailing one family’s fight against the eminent-domain stealing of their land to construct a portion of Trump’s wall. U.S. officials are using their power of eminent domain to steal land belonging to 69-year old Jose Alfredo Cavazos and his sister Eloisa, who live in Mission, Texas, which is located in the Rio Grande Valley. The Cavazos family has lived on their property their entire lives.

  To the everlasting credit of the Cavazos family, they are fighting the feds every step of the way. The case has gone to court and the feds, not surprisingly, won at the trial court level. The Cavazos family is appealing the decision and is being represented for free by the Texas Civil Rights Project.

  Unfortunately, however, their chances of success are virtually nil. Once the federal government decides to seize someone’s property through eminent domain, there is virtually nothing that a property owner can do to stop it. The federal bureaucrats keep moving forward with their plans, with full confidence that nothing will end up stopping them from taking the land and constructing their wall. According to the Global Village article, they have already surveyed the land, which is the first step toward construction. The money for this portion of the wall has already been approved by Congress and is separate and distinct from the money that Trump is currently seeking in his government-shutdown extortion scheme.

  According to the Global Village Space article, “If the wall is built as planned, it will run along the levee that keeps the land from flooding — and will block his access to his land, where he tends a small herd of cattle and goats.”

  Moreover, the family is likely to lose the revenue from rental houses that it owns near the river, which brings the family $25,000 a year in rental income, which they cannot live without. As the article points out, “After all, who would want to spend a relaxing weekend staring at a giant concrete wall, or even towering steel slats? Would tenants even be allowed to cross back and forth?”

  There is also the emotional impact Trump’s actions have had on the family. The family is extremely distraught about losing the property that means so much to them on a personal basis. Rey Anzaldua, a cousin of Fred and his best friend, said, “This land to us is worth more than money — we have an actual love for the land.” He added that Fred is “totally disabled. This land is actually what keeps him alive.”

  Roy Snipes is a local priest in Mission. His church is located in the area between the wall and the river, which means that people on the U.S. side of the wall will have to get through the wall to attend church, which will still be located inside the United States but on the other side of the wall. No one knows exactly how that will work. Will there be border guards checking people’s papers both coming and going to church? Welcome to the new America inside Trump’s wall.

  So if the Cavazos family is fighting a losing battle, why do they continue fighting? Because they obviously believe that the fight is worth it, even if they end up losing. There is also another possibility. As Anzaldua points out, perhaps they can delay the feds long enough that Trump is defeated in the 2020 election and replaced by someone who opposes a Berlin Wall within the United States and the eminent-domain stealing of people’s property on which to construct such a wall.

  About the author: Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

  This article was published by The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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