Trump’s Border Wall Faces a Barrier in Texas: Lawsuits by Landowners

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LOS EBANOS, Tex. — One of the principal barriers to President Trump’s border wall begins in Aleida Garcia’s expansive backyard.

She and her husband have built a small park alongside some scrubland on their 30 acres, and they enjoy a panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley. They say they will fiercely resist any effort by the federal government to take over their property, the continuation of a fight that began a decade ago.

And they are not alone. More than 90 lawsuits involving landowners opposing the federal seizure of their property in South Texas remain open from 2008. The property owners have the support of many Texas politicians in a state where land ownership has an almost mythic resonance, and their opposition to a border wall could delay any construction by years while lawsuits wind through the court system.

Mr. Trump and John F. Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary, have said they can build a wall in 24 months, even though Congress did not include any funding for construction in its latest spending bill. Fresh legal challenges, along with the existing ones, make that timetable highly unlikely.

. . .

Indeed, those closest to the perceived dangers of illegal immigration are providing perhaps the most formidable opposition to the president’s plans. They are well aware that their land has become a major point of transit for drug traffickers and smugglers, and some have been victims of crime. But they also believe that the border is already heavily patrolled, by drones, federal agents and the local authorities, and contend that a wall would have mainly a symbolic value at the cost of their land.

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