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Throughout his campaign, President Trump promised to “build a wall” between the United States and Mexico for immigration control purposes. Just after his inauguration in January, the president signed an executive order to begin construction of said wall, which he claimed would cover the entire 2,000 miles of the international border.
However, starting the construction is more complicated than signing an executive order – and not just for federal funding reasons. Much of the land needed to build such a wall is owned by many, many different private landowners. The government cannot simply walk onto a piece of private property and begin construction without meeting certain requirements, as set out in the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The major requirement at issue in the case of building the wall will be providing the private landowners with just compensation for the portion of their land that is disturbed.
If you are wondering how complicated these condemnation cases may be for wall construction, you need only look to the Secure Fence Act that was passed by former President Bush in 2006. That initiative set out to build only 700 miles of fence and resulted in at least 320 eminent domain cases in court. The following issues arose:
In some cases, the fence would divide one owner’s property and they either wanted a gate installed or compensation for all the land that was on the other side of the fence
All of these issues took years to resolve and many landowners say they are still waiting for payment or their case is still pending.
If 2006 is any indication, any actual construction of Trump’s wall will likely cause an uproar for hundreds of property owners. If your land is at risk, you need qualified representation by a condemnation attorney as soon as possible. Call the law firm of Sever Storey, LLP at 888-318-3761 for help.
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