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Texas Civil Rights Project, Mar. 25, 2020
"Land possessions continue as Trump declares COVID-19 national emergency
Eminent domain attorneys and advocates demand Administration to stop border wall construction, so landowners can shelter in place
Read the letter here.
Alamo, Tex. – Today, leaders from 109 state and national civil rights, immigration, religious and environmental organizations sent Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, a letter demanding they halt land possession and construction related to the border wall during the COVID-19 national emergency.
In the last week, the federal government has filed new condemnations and a motion for immediate possession, arguing that they need access to landowners’ property urgently, to send surveyors and contractors to their house in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. In eminent domain cases such as these, the government sues the landowner for rights to their land.
“These takings are directly affecting people’s homes,” said Efrén Olivares, the Legal Director of the Racial and Economic Justice Program at the Texas Civil Rights Project, who represents landowners in the path of the border wall. “These clients live on this land. They want to send contractors to come in and take their homes while we’re supposed to be sheltering in place. It’s unbelievable.” "