Texans Refuse Generous Border Patrol Offer

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If you've got property in the Rio Grande Valley, the U.S. Border Patrol will pay $100 to survey the land and decide whether to erect a hideous, vista-destroying gray wall on top of it. You can refuse, of course. And then they'll sue you.

Last December, a U.S. Border Patrol agent asked [Hilaria] Muniz to sign a paper allowing the government to survey his land for the border fence. Muniz, who doesn't read or write, refused. The government sued. The family sought help from rural legal aid lawyers.

Their attorney, Celestino Gallegos, said the government has also sued some 50 other landowners in the Rio Grande Valley. In each case, he said, the government demands unlimited access for six months and was willing to pay only $100 for the inconvenience.

"That was across the board for every single landowner," Gallegos said. "No matter if you had 100 acres or if you had — in the case of the Muniz family — a third of an acre, the access to it and any kind of damage that could be caused is only worth $100."

Whole NPR report here.

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  1. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you…whether you want it or not…or need it or not.

  2. This might be the only example of fiscal responsibility enacted during the Bush administration.

  3. The least they could’ve done in this instance would be to get a counselor or somebody to discuss the matter with her if she couldn’t read or write…

    You would think that, in the area of Leviathan-esque endeavors by the government to promote accessibility, this would have come to mind. Apparently not.

    That aside, I don’t think dispatching lawyers would be considered the best way to get people to agree with you.

  4. I’m surprised that there isn’t a federal version of an easement for the border.

    Why isn’t this like my parkway, where the city can rip up whatever they want to extend water/electric utilities?

  5. Why isn’t this like my parkway, where the city can rip up whatever they want to extend water/electric utilities?

    Because your parkway and easements for utilities are actually useful for nonpolitical purposes?

    Seriously, the border itself may actually be the most expensive place to put a fence. There are significant population and businesses along the border expressly taking advantage of exactly the trade and services that borders facilitate. If there were a way for the government to build the fence ten or twenty miles inland so as not to disrupt the border trade itself, it would improve the situation significantly. But then the checkpoints at the relocated fence would become a hindrance to intrastate movement.

    Best to just forget this whole fence thing. Or, perhaps, to build it on the southern borders of the states whose congresspersons actually wanted it…

  6. Why isn’t this like my parkway, where the city can rip up whatever they want to extend water/electric utilities?

    Because “your” parkway is not part of your property*. It’s part of the city’s right-of-way (another word for land the city – or other govt entity – owns for transportation, utility, drainage or other related uses.

    The federal government has no such claim over land adjacent to the border. Property owners own the land right up to the international border, subject only to state laws governing land title.

    The only complication in Texas is that the border is a river and property law dealing with rivers is complicated.

    If the federal government wants to build a fence then they need to acquire an easement or other interest in the property they are going to occupy. This means eminent domain, hence compensation. I hope every single property owner sues the feds and gets the highest amount of compensation they can get. And I say that knowing full well that some of that is going to come out of my pocket.

    *Yes, I know it’s grossly unfair that you have to shovel snow off the sidewalk and you have to mow the grass out there, but them’s the breaks. Actually, more and more cities are taking over maintenance responsibility especially snow removal.

  7. In a completely non-joking manner, I agree with MikeP.

  8. I want to learn more about this, but nobody has provided anything for me to click on.

  9. Oh, and I also agree with MikeP.

  10. *Yes, I know it’s grossly unfair that you have to shovel snow off the sidewalk and you have to mow the grass out there, but them’s the breaks. Actually, more and more cities are taking over maintenance responsibility especially snow removal.

    Where I live, the village will ticket and fine you if you don’t remove/clear snow or salt the ice off of the public walkways adjacent to your property within 24 hours of the snowfall.

  11. How would anyone know that $100 worth of damage had been done in the entire Rio Grand Valley? Like footprints on the surface of the moon…

  12. Oh no! Not just one but two University of Texas at Brownsville golf students will be inconvenienced!?!?! OPEN THE BORDER, NOW!

    Of course, there are a few things Kerry Howley and NPR aren’t telling you. Such as DHS/Congress not really wanting the fence, because it would cost those who’ve paid them off money. But, corruption is apparently one of the pillars of libertarianism, so we can ignore that just as Howley did.

    But, surely, even a “reporter” like Howley can’t help but wonder about all the links one of the lawyers against the fence has to the MexicanGovernment, right? I guess best to ignore that as well. After all, people don’t expect anything other than amateurish agenda-driven coverage from Reason.

  13. What? Do anyone hear that noise?

  14. Taktix,
    You mean that gurgling sound? Like someone is having a spaz attack? Yeah, I heard it but I’m sure it’s nobody important.

  15. Actually, when the first “fence” was erected it was greatly disliked by Border Patrol Agents since it relegated them to staring at the fence with no action, negating the very reason they applied for a position in the Patrol in the first place. in fact, there was a mass exodus of Border Patrol Agents in the Chula Vista sector when the fence was completed, especially when DHS began recruiting for Air Marshals.

    Does a border fence make a difference in and around urban areas? Yes, in two ways. It has cut border crime by an average of 93% in the areas where it has been erected. Secondly, it forces illegal border crossers to cross farther out in the country, thereby giving the Patrol a greater window (time frame) to apprehend them.

    Who doesn’t like the “fence?” The answer is criminals who reside in Mexico and routinely cross into the US to steal, rob (different than stealing), rape and murder and then return to Mexico for sanctuary. It also is not appreciated by drug and alien smugglers as one might imagine. Additionally, “Open Borders” advocates are against “the fence” or any border enforcement for that matter.

    Who likes it? Local law enforcement, especially in urban areas adjacent to the border and local businesses and residents who had been preyed up by border bandits until its erection.

    The only real problem in regards to the fence is the possible lack of access to the Rio Grande by ranchers in the US for their live stock. I have no clue how they would solve that problem.

    How do I know all this? I know all this because I served more than 30 years in the Border Patrol.

  16. Or, perhaps, to build it on the southern borders of the states whose congresspersons actually wanted it…

    So do you think I could convince the legislature to build a fence along Missouri’s southern border?

  17. I get property rights, eminent domain and what an easement is. I’m just surprised there is no federal version. Seems like it would be undesirable to have 3rd parties (private property owners) involved in border disputes that might alternatively involve treaties, international, or maritime law.

    But, I’m an open borders guy so I think the fence is stupid irregardless.

  18. What? Do anyone hear that noise?

    The fart? I smell it as well.

  19. Oh. Well I thought the rule was, “he who smelt it, dealt it” and I’m pretty sure that gurgling sound wasn’t coming from you, J sub.

    The only logical conclusion I can see, therefore, is that this thread has a case of troll indigestion and that J sub D just farted.

    Glad I could help.

  20. Does a border fence make a difference in and around urban areas? Yes, in two ways. It has cut border crime by an average of 93% [citation needed]in the areas where it has been erected.

    Also, please define “border crime.”

    Actually, when the first “fence” was erected it was greatly disliked by Border Patrol Agents since it relegated them to staring at the fence with no action, negating the very reason they applied for a position in the Patrol in the first place.

    Aww, poor little border guards, so fed up with their futile jobs now that they can’t hogtie dem me-he-cans anymore.

    Who doesn’t like the “fence?” The answer is criminals who reside in Mexico and routinely cross into the US to steal, rob (different than stealing), rape and murder and then return to Mexico for sanctuary.

    As opposed to criminals who simply hide out in bad neighborhoods on U.S. soil? There will be criminals no matter what, and a largely symbolic fence will do little to change that.

    It also is not appreciated by drug and alien smugglers as one might imagine.

    This one never gets old, huh? The sheer amount of money made in these trades will overcome any weak political measure to stop them. If a fence goes up, I’m sure they can afford tools to cut a whole in it. (That is, unless the fence is built with magical, wish-granting planks).

    Additionally, “Open Borders” advocates are against “the fence” or any border enforcement for that matter.

    Good job, you defined a term. Way to go, sport.

    How do I know all this? I know all this because I served more than 30 years in the Border Patrol.

    Ah, sophistry: shutting up opponents since 800 B.C.

  21. I don’t have smell-o-vision on the PC but I did feel some hot air moving through.

  22. Taktix.

    I would be happy to respond to any legitimate questions you might have, or anyone else here, but as I read your response I could only find sarcasm. (defined as: mockery, scorn, derision, disdain, cynicism) [citation: MS – Word]

    USBP1969

  23. USBP1969 wrote,
    Who likes it? Local law enforcement, especially in urban areas adjacent to the border and local businesses and residents who had been preyed up by border bandits until its erection.

    The fact that law enforcement likes a fence in the border does not give the government permission or justification to invade someone’s property without just compensation, as stipulated in the US Constitution. You may talk about the wonderful properties of a border fence, it is all for naught if your own countrymen’s rights are violated in the process.

  24. “How do I know all this? I know all this because I served more than 30 years in the Border Patrol.”

    Oh, that explains a lot. The border patrol recruits people too stupid to become cops. Still and all, it is one small step above the human detritus that comprises our prison guard population.

  25. They should take the $100 before the govt. offers it to them as an ED settlement…

  26. USBP1969 – It would be easier to meaningfully criticize your comments if you’d made more provable statements, instead of just saying, “This is how it is, and I know all, ’cause I was an agent myself.” Taktix did ask you to define “border crime”, a request you seem to have sidestepped. I mean, if crime has dropped so dramatically, there ought to be some pretty good statistics out there to show it, right?

  27. “””The only real problem in regards to the fence is the possible lack of access to the Rio Grande by ranchers in the US for their live stock. I have no clue how they would solve that problem.””””

    Many of these people don’t like the fence either, doesn’t that make them crimials as defined by your “who hates the fence” statement?

  28. USBP1969,

    We don’t need to spend all that money for a fence. When the dollar drops below the peso, the illegals will move back.

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