Landowners criticize Texas Senators for not stepping in when Biden seized their land
Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF
- The Biden administration promised to end border wall construction, then seized over six acres of a southern Texas family’s land through eminent domain.
- The Cavazos family told the Daily Caller News Foundation they counted on President Joe Biden when he promised not one more foot of wall, since they had fought eminent domain claims to hold onto their land for years.
- The family criticized Texas lawmakers for not coming to their defense as they did for northern Texans when the Bureau of Land Management attempted to seize their land.
Texas landowners criticized lawmakers for not standing up for them when the Biden administration continued to seize over six acres of their land for border wall construction, a member of the Cavazos family told the Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.
Neither Texas Sen. Ted Cruz nor Sen. John Cornyn have spoken out about the Biden administration continuing to seize private land for border wall construction on the southern border of Texas, the Cavazos family told the DCNF. A U.S. District Court ruled Tuesday that the federal government could use eminent domain to seize six acres of land in Hidalgo county from the Cavazos family, the Washington Post reported.
“This is one of the reasons we are fighting this so hard because we are tired of losing land, we are tired of people, you know, trampling on our rights. We are just tired of it,” Reynaldo “Rey” Anzaldua Cavazos told the DCNF.
“And what does Ted Cuz and John Cornyn do? They say ‘well you see you can’t be taking property from Texans through eminent domain, that’s not American,’ well what about us here, are we not U.S. citizens?” Anzaldua Cavazos said.
This issue today, spanning from 2006 under Bush, extending through Trump and now Biden, shows how nothing is ever cut or dry when it comes to border politics, especially a fence, in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. https://t.co/bZEInJBZxZ pic.twitter.com/ve2khQhpyd
— lomikriel (@lomikriel) April 14, 2021
The government has seized hundreds of acres of land from the family in the last 60 years with little compensation, Anzaldua Cavazos told the DCNF. The government offered $347,887 for the 6.5 acres of land on September 4, 2020, according to the court order.
Cruz argued for $5.7 billion in funding for the border wall in January 2019 and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet criticized him for allowing the federal government to take constituents’ land, Texas Monthly reported.
Several Texas lawmakers rallied behind landowners when the Bureau of Land Management attempted to claim small strips of land at the bottom of the Red River serving as the border between Texas and Oklahoma in 2019, Texas Monthly reported. Gov. Greg Abbott told the agency to “come and take it” and the claim was dropped when former President Donald Trump took office.
However, lawmakers did not raise the same concerns when Trump’s proposed border wall would require the government to seize large amounts of private land to build a buffer zone, fences, access roads and other technology like lights and surveillance, Texas Monthly reported.
Cornyn said eminent domain is sometimes necessary to put up fencing on private property in south Texas, Fox News Radio reported.
Cornyn added that property owners in south Texas “want the protection that comes with [the border wall] because they’re being overrun by the drug dealers and the human traffickers as well as the coyotes who are moving people from Central America.”
“And they’ll say ‘well it is different because there is a problem with national security.’ That’s baloney, there is no problem here with national security,” Anzaldua Cavazos told the DCNF. “As far as the border wall, there is no need for border walls. What the government needs to do is address the real, root cause of the problem, which is drug addiction and the need for immigrant labor. Until they address those problems, this is never gonna stop.”
The Cavazos family tried to delay the seizure of the land for the last few years and believed President Joe Biden when he said in August that there “will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration,” Anzaldua Cavazos told the DCNF. The Cavazos family isn’t sure whether the Biden administration plans to build a physical or “virtual” wall.
“Either way, it doesn’t make any difference. It’ll be an intrusion and it will be a problem for the landowner and the environment because they’ll have floodlights and all those sorts of things out there and the Rincon Village is the only property where there’s a wooded area that will support wildlife,” Anzaldua Cavazos told the DCNF.
Construction on the border wall stopped for one week after Biden was inaugurated and has not stopped since, Aurora Anzaldua Garcia, Rey’s sister, told the DCNF.
“I live right next to the border wall, there is a levy behind my house and I see the construction and the machinery going back and forth, the work trucks going back and forth, and they stopped for exactly one week,” Aurora told the DCNF.
Migrants cross through Aurora’s property nearly every night, she told the DCNF. She added that Customs and Border Protection agents are trying their best to respond to every incident but that they’re overwhelmed.
Neither Cornyn or Cruz responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.