Border wall

Can Cards Against Humanity Stop Trump's Wall?

No, because Trump doesn't care about private property rights.


Cards Against Humanity: Liberty Edition

The company behind the delightfully profane card game Cards Against Humanity wants to stop President Donald Trump's signature promise. On Tuesday, the game maker announced that it had purchased a plot of land on the U.S.-Mexico border and retained a law firm specializing in eminent domain. The aim: to make it "as time-consuming and expensive as possible" to build a border wall.

The move is characteristic for a company known for politically tinged publicity stunts. But it will likely be ineffective, given the administration's willingness to trample private property rights.

Trump's Department of Justice is asking Congress for $1.8 million to hire 20 new staff members—including 12 land acquisition attorneys—for what it describes as a "massive and unprecedented" amount of eminent domain seizures required for the wall.

According to the administration's initial budget ask, these attorneys are needed to cope with the "initial litigation surge" that is expected to come when wall construction gets underway, and to handle any seizure cases involving "political sensitivities."

The request is just one of the feds' recent moves to take private parcels along the border.

What rural communities really want

In July, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and with the Army Corps of Engineers began reviewing the property records along the Texas portion of the southern border, as part of its "preparatory activities" for the wall.

Homeland Security Committee staffers have also interviewed Noel Benavides of Roma, Texas. The government initially attempted to seize a 5-acre strip of land on Benavides' border property in 2008, but it eventually lost interest in the case. Its interest returned in February, less than a month after Trump's inauguration, when Benavides received a notification that legal proceedings against his property had started up again. Benavides, whose wife's family initially received the property as part of a Spanish land grant in 1767, says he is not going without a fight, telling committee staffers that "they could offer me a billion dollars and I wouldn't take it."

Cards Against Humanity is promising similar resistance to any attempts to seize their border land. That won't stop Trump from proceeding with his plans for a big, bright Berlin Wall in the desert, but it does mean his administration will have to spend a lot more time and energy getting the job done.

How much more is still an open question. Though it already asked for $1.6 billion to begin the wall's construction, and though it is testing wall prototypes outside San Diego, the Trump administration is still unable to answer how many Americans will have their land seized to build the wall, how much those seizures will cost, or when those seizures will be completed.

All the administration has provided so far is a guesstimate that "potentially hundreds or thousands of parcels of land are needed for the project."

Past fencing projects provide some insight to the difficulties ahead. In order to build 211 miles of fencing, CBP had to acquire over 600 separate parcels of property, 330 of them via eminent domain. Some 90 of those eminent domain cases are still pending; they will cost roughly $21 million to resolve.

Doing the same for 1,000 miles of border wall is a much larger undertaking, even without a trolling card game company promising to fight them tooth and nail.

That doesn't mean it won't happen, as Trump has both the power and willingness to get the job done. But it does mean that the border wall, in addition to being an ineffective border security solution, is totally incompatible with the rights of hundreds of property owners.

Note: Those depressed by the news always have the option of cheering themselves up with the Reason's libertarian-themed Cards Against Humanity expansion.

NEXT: The Senate Intelligence Committee Really Wants to Secretly Snoop on Americans

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  1. The Trump administration should place a light rail system atop the wall so that both parties in Congress will be 100% behind the land grabs. (The courts will go along.)

    1. So true, Fist of Etiquette.

    2. Light rail? High Speed Rail!

      1. Is there a chance the track might bend?

  2. God damn you Cards Against Humanity! They’ve gotten all serious. The whole point of their previous “fund raisers” was that they were completely meaningless, such as digging a hole in the ground last year.

    That’s what made them so funny: It was them saying “Fuck all you pompous asses out there. We don’t give a shit and BTW, give us your money.” It was the irony of not taking anything seriously in a cacophony of people on all sides tut-tutting about everything.

    Another thing Trump has ruined. Sad.

    1. Digging a hole in the ground? Were they making fun of the labor theory of value?

    2. They’re still saying that. This won’t do a damn thing; the only way it makes sense is if it’s a joke itself.

  3. Past fencing projects provide some insight to the difficulties ahead. In order to build 211 miles of fencing, CBP had to acquire over 600 separate parcels of property, 330 of them via eminent domain. Some 90 of those eminent domain cases are still pending; they will cost roughly $21 million to resolve.

    Therefore the cost of eminent domain fights for the entire wall will be around $100 million, or enough to build about 12 miles of highway in New Jersey. The cost might shrink as people notice that early cases end in the government’s favor.

    1. Still worth it.

      Build the wall! Build the wall!

      Lesson: never buy land near an existing road or a national border.

      1. How far out into the ocean will the wall extend?
        When is the northern segment going up?

  4. To the extent that I’m against building a border wall, it’s because I think it likely to be ineffective and too costly.

    It would be hard for me to make that argument and then turn around and praise somebody for making it even more costly.

    I was opposed to the Iraq War, but I wanted to be wrong about it. I wanted us to be wildly successful. I wanted to see democracy bloom in the desert like an oasis, and become a contagious model of freedom for the rest of the Middle East. I wanted to be wrong.

    I want to be wrong about the wall, too, and even though I’m opposed to building it, I recognize that we won’t have an expansive, legal immigration policy in this country until the voters are convinced that we’re able to keep out the immigrants we reject after they’ve been convicted of crimes, etc.

    In that way, persuading people that our border can’t be defended or that we can’t keep people out after we’ve deported them is actually persuading them that we shouldn’t have an expansive legal immigration policy.

    It works that way with everything. Convincing people that background checks don’t work doesn’t make them want to get rid of background checks. It makes them want to ban guns entirely. Likewise, convincing people that our border can’t be secured just makes them want to restrict legal immigration even further–it makes them supportive of mass deportation.

    1. want to be wrong about the wall, too, and even though I’m opposed to building it, I recognize that we won’t have an expansive, legal immigration policy in this country until the voters are convinced that we’re able to keep out the immigrants we reject after they’ve been convicted of crimes

      So the only thing stopping us from having an expansive, legal immigration policy is extreme vetting? And I guess a wall is the most extremiest of vetting.

      1. You know what’s extreme?

        This guy:…..inal-past/

        Before he raped a 65 year old woman, he’d been arrested eight time, convicted of a felony ,and deported 20 times–all over the last ten years.

        If he does 10 years for rape and is subsequently deported, will we be able to keep him out the 21st time he’s deported?

        If we can’t keep out people like that–after they’ve been deported–then there’s no reason why average Americans would support calling off the deportations and opening up the borders to legal immigration.

        And, yeah, the thing that’s stopping us from having an expansive, legal immigration policy is the opinion of American voters. They’ll be a lot more supportive of legal immigration if they believe we can keep the bad guys out, just like they’re more supportive of gun rights when they believe that background checks keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, that legal marijuana won’t be sold to minors, etc., etc.

        I wish people were more principled and pro-freedom than they are, but if they aren’t, I guess we have to work with the world we’ve got.

        1. Before he raped a 65 year old woman, he’d been arrested eight time, convicted of a felony ,and deported 20 times–all over the last ten years.

          The Republicans should recruit him to run for the Senate. Think of how much teh libz would be triggered!!!111

          1. Roy Moore once dated a teenager so therefore there is no need to do anything about criminals who keep crossing our border and committing crimes.

            That is some top flight thinking there android.

        2. But what about the ” they took our jobs” group, which seemingly is a fairly large population? This discussion doesn’t seem to pertain to them, but based off what I read that is the “average American voter.”

          I just really find the idea that bad people illegally entering our country hugely effects the average voter’s opinion on legal immigration really unpersuasive. The history of populism, nationalism, and fascism indicates that there are so many more important facets to this topic.

          1. Some people’s opinions won’t change regardless of whether the border is secure.

            Meanwhile, the more our border is perceived as insecure by average Americans, the more reluctant they are to support legal immigration and the more likely they are to support mass deportation, oppose amnesty, etc.

            Some people oppose the legalization of marijuana and gun rights regardless of whether background checks keep guns away from convicted felons or cannabis legalization through licensed retailers keeps it away from children. Regardless, the more those things are accomplished, the more people support gun rights and cannabis legalization.

            This argument is not difficult to follow.

            And because doing x, y, and z doesn’t completely dissolve 100% of the public’s opposition doesn’t mean there’s no improvement.

  5. What’s really going to be funny is when Trump realizes a significant chunk of the border is in the middle of the Rio Grande river. Will he:

    1. Try to build the wall in the middle of the river
    2. Build the wall on our side of the river, thereby giving US territory away to Mexico
    3. Invade Mexico and build it on their side of the river

    1. 4. Some sort of shark-based deterrent system

      1. with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads

    2. There are secure borders along rivers all over the world. You should see the one between Belize and Chetumal along the Rio Hondo. Scariest looking border I ever saw.

      It does’t need to be a wall at every point along the border.

    3. Or just build a wall on the US side of the river like every country in the world that has a border along a river does.

      1. Most countries don’t wall off riverine borders. Because they usually want access to the river.

        1. Depends on the country and the situation.

          1. So it isn’t “like every country in the world” then?

      2. How about a giant electrified metal net down the middle of the river?

    4. A wall on our shore of the river doesn’t “give” Mexico any territory.

      That you can’t walk (swim) to it doesn’t mean there’s no longer a legal claim to sovereignty over it.

    5. Stormy, Your eight-grade level of sophisticated gotcha is why I read the comments. It’s hilarious to read the read these well-did-you-think-of-this scenarios that have been solved many times over by people with more experience and brains while Trump is changing the entire Federal judiciary. Your facile analysis of the situation notwithstanding, I don’t think anybody with any real understanding of the actual challenges thinks this is an insurmountable problem.

      You think you can predict the outcome of a game the rules of which you don’t even understand.

  6. Well, damn – I just assumed we were building the wall on Mexico’s side of the border. That’s how we were going to get Mexico to “pay” the wall and what’s the use of being a big swinging dick if you can’t just go grab countries by the paisaje?

    1. That’s actually a brilliant idea.

  7. Here are some cards:

    1. The Jacket
    2. Golden thread made from Robby’s hair
    3. Buttplug’s bet
    4. a drop of Mike Rigg’s man essence
    5. Bully!
    6. Shikha’s green card
    7. Fist in Philly
    8. Crusty’s penis
    9. Tony’s self-awareness
    10. a lady John could love
    11. a nest made from pubes
    12. like a true libertarian
    13. nothing but a MAGA hat
    14. gingerly

    Someone draw from the deck.

    1. 15. Muh Roads
      16. the side of Lobster Girl’s boob
      17. pot, ass sex, and Mexicans
      18. all of the fruit sushi
      19. Block Insane Yomomma
      20. Christian Britschgi’s limitless hatred of the commentariat
      21. Eddie Kray’s Blues Traveler cover band
      22. Ron Bailey’s doppelganger, Rick Steves
      24. a horrifying, chimeric chicken-transmitted venereal disease
      25. GILMORE physically assaulting a dude for wearing Crocs

      1. 26. woodchippers
        27. The many puppets of Tulpa.
        28. The Glibbening!
        29. on time links
        30. daily nut punch

        1. You forgot these special cards.
          1. Big Black Dick
          2. Bigger Black Dick.

        2. Where’s my alt text?

  8. While Trump may love eminent domain, his judge appointments will likely not be big fans. Hopefully.

    1. They likely are. No judge of any partisan strip rejects eminent domain for a legitimate public purpose.

  9. Kelo was a terrible case because it ruled that governments can use eminent domain to help privately help businesses. There has never been any question that the government has the power to take private property with just compensation for public use. Whatever you think of it, a border wall is a public use. And the people whose property is being affected are being compensated. If Donald Trump has no respect for private property because he is doing this, then the entire US Constitution has no respect for private property, which is a bold claim, to say the least.

    1. And the people whose property is being affected are being compensated.

      You seem to have left off a pretty important word there.

    2. ….then the entire US Constitution has no respect for private property, which is a bold claim, to say the least.

      I think the claim’s truth is obvious on its face:

      The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises

  10. A border wall is a clear valid use of eminent domain. The Constitution requires the us govt to protect the states against invasion. Immigration is not the hill for libertarians to die on.

    1. We’ve got plenty of other hills, but freedom to choose where one lives is pretty high on the list.

      1. You believe you should be free to live in someone else’s community where they own all the land and dont want you?

  11. Trump is missing the obvious solution here: just claim the wall is already built. Make some crappy photoshops to put on Breitbart and Fox News showing a big fake wall. Anyone points out there’s no actual wall there? Just say the lying media is making fake news again.

    Trump’s supporters get the illusion of false security and victory they crave, everyone else gets to go one with their lives. Win-win.

    1. That is a really thoughtful and enlightening comment on the issue of eminent domain.

      1. Thanks. I’m already recruiting a team of crooks, charlatans, and bigots to help advise my Presidential campaign, if you’re interested. I think you’ve really got what it takes.

        1. Sorry, I can’t dumb down talking points enough for you to be able to understand them. I am not your guy. Talk to Tony. He seems to be about your speed. I am pretty sure no one ever lost an election because they were too stupid. So, go get em Tiger.

          1. No, I understand, defending the honor of teen-groping perverts is a full-time job. I’ll keep your name on file!

            1. Nobody was defending Joe Biden here, man.

    2. Thanks for the laugh!
      My two bits worth . . . .
      To any one who thinks this wall would be effective, I would have them study the case of the Berlin Wall. Granted it was in an urban setting, but I don’t think a rural setting would make the Trump wall any less labor and capital intensive than the Berlin Wall. I would point out how much less miles of wall was standing in Berlin.
      This wall would likely be a monumentally ineffective boondoggle and would only serve politically symbolic purposes.

  12. And a bunch of Proggie talking heads think this is just so awesome. Myopic hypocritical mutherfuckers were ready to burn the Bundy’s and the Hammond’s at the stake over their disputes with The Bureau of Land Management’s disgusting tactics of eminent domain abuse. If assholes had principles, our world would actually not suck as much…….

    1. Fen’s Law: Progressives do not mean what they lecture us about.

      It fits basically every aspect of their ideology.

  13. How many people cross the border at the points where private property owners don’t want to sell their land? I presume the number’s pretty small. Otherwise, the property owners would be more likely to support the wall’s construction.

    Why not just leave gaps in those places and leave the property owners to deal with the consequences of migrants using their land as a transit point?

    Is the Federal government alleging that these property owners are assisting border-crossers? If that’s the allegation, then surely they can gather evidence of such and prosecute the property owners.

    1. What if they open a restaurant, hotel and guide shop for new arrivals?

  14. But it will likely be ineffective, given the administration’s willingness to trample private property rights

    Or … because “seizing and paying for private property to build a border wall” actually is a seizure for public use?

    The Court’s going to throw it out, because it should do so as a Constitutional matter, since the Constitution plainly allows Eminent Domain for exactly that sort of thing, in the Takings Clause.

    That the wall might well be bad policy is irrelevant, since the power in question is not limited by the Constitution to “for good stuff but not stuff that’s bad ideas”.

    That it’s not libertarian doesn’t matter either, since libertarian principles are not actually those of the Constitution, as many similarities and inspirations as there are.

    Pretending that the Court’s decision will have any relation to the Administration’s willingness to trample general property rights (which ones?) rather than the way the Constitution explicitly allows for this specific action is … ludicrous, even by the standards of Reason in 2017.

    Bring Back Postrel.

    1. Pretty much this.

  15. This stupid card ______ company just lost a customer because they cannot keep gaming separate from their stupid political _______ agenda.

    This card game was going down hill anyway. I walked right past their game display at the store.

  16. Explain: Why are eminent domain victims complaining if they vote? How is it not their own fault if their property right is violated? THAT’S WHAT GOVT. DOES! Is it ok to violate others, but not ok when they are victims? They voted to be ruled, and rulers rule by initiation of force, threat thereof, and fraud. They got what they voted for.

    Moreover, they wanted their choice forced on all who wanted to retain their sovereignty and therefore do not authorize rule. How do my neighbors get the right to authorize rulers to do what they have no right to do?

    I recognize their right to self-enslave, but not to include me. But they do include me. Is that not aggression? Doesn’t that violate my rights? My freedom?

    And they get angry when I don’t stand and worship the symbol of their servitude. Why? They claim I owe my non-existent freedom to a system that oppresses all. I despise it. I will salute a symbol of voluntaryism and peace (non-aggression) should I ever find one.

  17. I’ll bet the East German govt. told their citizens they were building a wall to keep out all those nasty capitalists.

    Someday people will be shot trying the get out of here. Already you have to pay to renounce citizenship. If you don’t you will be taxed living outside any U.S. Empire jurisdiction. You can escape but they will give chase to the ends of the earth. Nowhere is safe as long as the Empire exists.

    I plan to remain and be the “rebel resistance” in the belly of the beast.

    1. That’s exactly what they were told.

  18. It wouldn’t be that difficult to build completely around the property.

  19. 1. I’m surprised to learn the government doesn’t own all the land immediately on the border. I don’t know why, but for some reason I guess I thought they would just own the land right along the edge.

    2. This sounds like they are going to be taking whole plots of land because they need a narrow strip… Which seems weird if that is the case. Why not just partition the properties and take only the 50 foot wide, or whatever size, but of land they need. I imagine it shouldn’t be too hard for the feds to force the states to partition plots of land for them…

  20. At least they’re TRYING. But gods forbid that people anywhere take up a fight they’re not guaranteed to win, right?

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