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Unread 2019-11-14, 19:00   #1
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aarkieboy
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Feb 5 2003
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"The Trump administration is preparing court filings to begin taking over private land to build its long-promised border wall as early as this week — without confirming how much it will pay landowners first, according to two officials familiar with the process.

Jared Kushner is hosting a meeting with military and administration officials at the White House this Friday, where they are expected to discuss the U.S. government taking over private land to build more sections of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, said two officials.

The commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, is expected to attend, as are two assistant defense secretaries for homeland defense, Kenneth Rapuano and Robert Salesses.

Attorneys for the Department of Justice and Department of Defense have prepared letters of rights of entry, informing property owners that government officials will be entering their land to assess the property, test the soil and conduct land surveys, said two officials.

In a typical eminent domain case, the government agrees on an amount of money before it seizes the land. In the past, the government has paid landowners along the Texas-Mexico border $100 for 18 months of unfettered, unannounced access, according to Ricky Garza, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project. Garza's group represents five Texas landowners whose property is in the path of the planned wall and who oppose its construction.

According to two officials familiar with the process, however, government attorneys may file under the Declaration of Taking Act in federal court in Texas, which could expedite the process for the government purchase of private land along the border.

If the government files under that law, and its action survives expected legal challenges, the title would automatically transfer to the government. The government has to name the price it expects to pay, but actual negotiations with the landowners about the price don't begin until after the land is taken." (More)
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