Real Estate's Battleground

February 13, 2019
Border wall causing real estate battle in Texas and California. Homeowners are unhappy at the possibility, particularly since the government notoriously low-balls properties in eminent domain.
Photo: Unsplash/Daan Huttinga

Homeowners along the border of the United States and Mexico are increasingly concerned that the federal government will seize their property, and below value, to build the proposed border wall.

Ilya Somin, law professor at George Mason University and adjunct scholar at the think tank, the Cato Institute, explains to, "If this goes forward, this will be one of the largest exercises in eminent domain in the modern history of the federal government," adding, "Realistically, hundreds, even thousands of people will lose their property. There will be legal battles over the legal compensation."

Texan Mauricio Vidaurri fears he will soon lose his father—again. The elder Vidaurri, a World War II veteran, is buried in a 200-year-old cemetery on his 1,300-acre La Laja Ranch, which was passed down to Mauricio and his seven siblings. The Zapata County property has been in their family since the late 18th century. It was issued through a Spanish land grant before the United States of America declared its independence. Now the younger Vidaurri worries that a portion of the property, which lies along what is now the U.S.-Mexico border, will be seized ... and he will be forced to surrender the graves of generations of his forebears.

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