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Trump Administration Lawyering Up for Eminent Domain at the U.S.-Mexico Border

One of the nuggets of significance in the Trump Administration's budget draft indicates the president's seriousness about building a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico.
March 17, 2017, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"President Donald Trump wants to hire 20 lawyers to work on obtaining the land needed to build a wall along the Southwest border," reports Joe Palazzol. "He may need more."

"Mr. Trump’s 2018 budget request to Congress asks for the 20 additional Justice Department attorneys to 'pursue federal efforts to obtain land and holdings necessary to secure the Southwest border,'" adds Pallazzo.

Expect a lot of Americans to get a lesson in eminent domain if the Trump Administration moves forward with the border wall plans. According to the article, about 67 percent of the 2,000-mile border is privately or state-owned. Any seizure of land to build walls will require the federal government to demonstrate that the land will be used for public purposes, as well as paying just compensation for the seizure of the land. "It could take months or even years for the Trump administration to bargain individually with the hundreds of private landowners along the border," according to Pallazzo.

Alan Rappeport and Glenn Thursh provide additional coverage of the Trump Administration's budget proposal, focusing on other cuts proposed for other parts of the federal government. After noting the budget's call for 20 new DOJ lawyers, Rappeport and Thrush also report that the "White House is expected to make a supplemental request of $1.5 billion on Thursday to get work started on the wall this year."

Eminent domain is already becoming a reality in Texas, where Melissa del Bosque reports that some property owners along the Rio Grande have already begun to receive a "Declaration of Taking"—legal notice that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to build a border wall on private property.

[The Wall Street Journal might be behind a paywall for some readers.]

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Published on Thursday, March 16, 2017 in The Wall Street Journal
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