Ten years ago, during the George W. Bush administration, the Loop family was forced to give up rights to part of their land so the government could build a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border. “I was very angry,” D’Ann Loop told CNN. “How can they do that? How is that possible in the United States that they can do this? Put up a fence in front of our land and keep us in here?”
After the construction of the wall, the Loop family found themselves on the Mexican side. They were now separated from rest of the United States.
The family dealt with this inconvenience as best they could until one night when a fire ripped through their farm. As a result, many of their animals perished in the flames while the fire department struggled to get past the wall to reach the blaze.
Today, Trump supporters in similar situations are expressing their concern that the government may again seize their land to build the wall.
The word “fight” is common among border-dwelling Trump supporters, who live with the reality that a wall is not the solution. Pat Bell, a Trump supporter, told CNN that she doesn’t believe walls and fences work. Bell lives in Brownsville, Texas, which is just on the opposite side of the U.S.-Mexico border, near Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. If the government had its eyes on her property, Bell says, “I would go to the people that are in charge, and, you hate to say, ‘I would get a lawyer,’ but if it came to that issue, and you had to, you would.”
Many Trump supporting land owners along the border share Bell’s sentiments.
Even if locals resist, the U.S. government can seize land, forcing citizens into legal battles to keep their land.
If a land owner doesn’t want to sell their property, the government can use its power of eminent domain to seize privately owned land for public use. In these instances, citizens have few legal options, and they are often “steamrolled” by the government, Norton Colvin, an attorney from Brownsville, told CNN. Those who do receive money, do not receive “fair compensation.” CNN based its findings on research of over “442 lawsuits” from 2006.
So far no residents have been given notice about their land. But as CNN correspondent Drew Griffin told Anderson Cooper, “If history repeats itself, landowners will be forced to sell their property to the government, lose their land, and not be paid what they think that land is worth.”