Biden Continues Trump Seizures of Private Land for Border Wall

"We thought President Joe Biden would protect us. Now we've lost our land. We don't even know what comes next," says Baudilia Cavazos.


"There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration," candidate Joe Biden told NPR in August 2020. Referring to the private property that former President Donald Trump's Justice Department was trying to seize for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Biden said, "End, end, end, stop, done, over. Not gonna do it. Withdraw the lawsuits. We're out."

Those lawsuits, it turns out, were not withdrawn. In April, a federal judge ruled that a Texas family will have to surrender land for the border wall.

"We are utterly devastated," says Baudilia Cavazos, whose family owns land in Hidalgo County, Texas. "We thought President Joe Biden would protect us. Now we've lost our land. We don't even know what comes next."

The Cavazos clan has fended off similar attempts at confiscation for years. When Trump took office, he sought to claim about seven acres and divide the family's land—which they rent to various tenants—in two, rendering a huge chunk of the property nearly inaccessible to prospective customers.

"I retired five years ago—I taught for 40 years," Eloisa Cavazos told Reason in 2018. "This is my income that I use for my retirement." She may have to find a new source of income.

Had the president wanted to, his administration could have stopped the ruling. On his first day in office, Biden issued a proclamation pausing border wall construction for 60 days to determine whether any land needed to be confiscated. Those 60 days came and went without a decision.

The seizure marks another promise broken by Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, both of whom cast themselves as foils to Trump's merciless immigration policies. Their administration is also defending Immigration and Customs Enforcement after the agency set up a fake college, charged immigrant students thousands of dollars, and then deported them without refunds.

The land owned by Eloisa and Ray Cavazos, along with their cousin Rey Anzaldua, has dwindled over the years. Descendants of Spanish settlers, the family began with 18,000 acres. "Now we probably have no more than 150 acres," Anzaldua says. "That's a lot of land to lose."

The parcel will soon be smaller still. "We're liable to lose about 10 acres, three barns, and two houses," Anzaldua says. When his cousins asked for help fighting the seizure, Anzaldua told them, "Yes. I've got ties to this land just like you do. This is our grandmother's land."

Despite Biden's promises to the contrary, it is now the government's land.

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  1. To be fair, Biden did promise to restore normalcy and politicians lying about what they’re going to do is as normal as it gets.

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    2. That’s totally NOT nice! These people should not be forced off of their land.

      1. I believe it is their land, now, even if the govt. claims differently.
        Rights can’t be erased by law, only violated. They still exist, even when denied by the govt. However, the US Constitution disagrees. It provides for property tax (rent paid on the land lease) and revocation of the lease at govt. whim (eminent domain) without third party adjudication. The judiciary is part of govt., not a neutral party.

  2. Spanish settlers?

    So they’ve got white skinned, slave owning, genocide committing relatives in their history too. Fuck them they’re racists and they deserve nothing.

    1. The people whom you know nothing about except their ancestry are racist by reason of being born.

      But THEY are the racists.

      To be clear, you, the person who wants the government to seize the property of people who committed the sin of being born in the wrong color of family tree, is complaining about the racism of the family who is unable to stop the government from seizing their property in order to build a wall to keep brown people out.

      THOSE are the racists?

        1. No. I used to check Reason all the time, back when it pretended to be a libertarian site.

          1. They still pretend, they’re just not as good at it.

            1. be bad at pretending *and* get paid for it @Reason lol

          2. And FYI Dizzle was mocking CRT and anti-white racism. The “/sarc” is rarely used here these days, gotta figure it out for yourself.

            1. If they don’t want to be thought of as racist trash by random internet people like me, perhaps they should rethink posting racist trash on the internet.

              1. Pretty sure he doesn’t give a shit what you think but I’ll let him speak for himself.

          3. OBL is also a parody poster. Tony, jeff and Amsoc seem like parody/sarcasm posters but they really are that mendacious.

            1. Is “Parody Poster” the new word for “stirrer of fecal matter”? Am I and the rest of the internet supposed to spend our time figuring out who is ACTUALLY stupid vs who is only PRETENDING to be stupid in order to… what? Bring out more stupid people? Make us angrier at stupid people? Just make it SEEM like there are more stupid people?

              That doesn’t seem like a good use of my time.

              Or yours.

              1. Well welcome back!

              2. LOL – you have to learn to take the commenters here just as seriously as you take the writers.

                1. That’s about the best description I’ve read of Reason in a long time.


              3. >>Is “Parody Poster” the new word for “stirrer of fecal matter”?

                love this. hey kettle, it’s pot …

              4. You really didn’t comprehend the whole ‘doesn’t give a shit what you think’ thing? Yes, the /sarc tag could be used to help people who just drop in figure out the gist of comments. Though, given being spring-loaded for ‘racist trash,’ you come across as a drive-by dropping in from social media to be outraged. So, it appears, mission accomplished.

    2. Really??? You’re playing the race card? Gimme a fucking break. That card game is so old only idiots and assholes think everything’s racist!

  3. Building a wall around DC may have a better roi.

    1. They already built that wall (after Jan 6) to keep Trump supporters out. It was finally taken down this past week.

      1. Hadn’t heard it was taken down. Seems newsworthy.

        1. “We got the wall in DC to remind us all that you can’t trust freedom when it’s not in your hands.”

  4. OBL hardest hit.

  5. Dwindled = sold off by the owners.

    1. 10 acres, 17,850 acres. Potato, pototo.

      1. Any lie for the narrative is a good lie.

  6. “On his first day in office, Biden issued a proclamation pausing border wall construction for 60 days to determine whether any land needed to be confiscated. Those 60 days came and went without a decision.”

    I’m sure it just slipped his mind. That tends to happen with people in his condition.

    1. In all fairness to Biden, he doesn’t remember what he said two minutes ago.

  7. It appears Billy Binion wants tens of millions more of the poorest people in the world to illegally cross the Mexican border into America after Biden and Harris invited them to come and promised them free food, housing, education, healthcare and citizenship.

    1. You also seem to be assuming that that building a wall will also stop immigration. How naive.

      1. Illegal immigration, and it will.

        Sorry to pee on your narrative but everyone hopes legal immigration will continue unabated, and those folks don’t need to ford a river to get in.

        1. Illegal immigration, and it will.

          We need to declare war on illegal immigration. It worked with alcohol, drugs, prostitution, gambling, poverty, etc. Of course it will work with immigration!

          And if by some reason that doesn’t work, we’ll have another 5 year plan on immigration that will! Harumph!

  8. Democrats like Biden and Trump will steal land, this is known.

  9. Not a big fan of Bushobamatrumpbiden.

    1. ^ This guy gets it

      Meet the new boss. The same as the old boss.
      (cue Townshend’s guitar)

  10. Should have voted for JoJo.

    1. Yea, race based marxism is totes the answer!

    2. Jojo the CRT pusher.

      What’s with the American Libertarian party always nominating liberaltarians?

  11. “The seizure marks another promise broken by Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, both of whom cast themselves as foils to Trump’s merciless immigration policies.

    The tweets are much better under Biden, though, and isn’t that what’s really important?

    1. The tweets and like 90% of policy, but hey, let’s just focus on tweets.

      1. What 90%? What percent is going back into Syria?

      2. The differences between Trump and Biden don’t seem to have translated to much of a difference in terms of the subject of this story, and the significant differences between Trump and Biden largely seem to be about issues where Biden was wrong.

        For instance, Trump refused to sign of on anything like the $4 to $10 trillion Biden and the Democrats want to spend on the Green New Deal. No way Trump and Betsy DeVos would have capitulated to the teachers’ unions and CRT. By your estimate, however, if Biden was different [worse] than Trump on 90% of the issues?

        On the issues where Biden could have been an improvement over Trump from a libertarian and capitalist perspective, say immigration or trade with China, in practice, Biden is more or less the same.

        1. I’m sure shitlunches is just busy for a bit and will be back later with a truthful answer to the question.

        2. Here’s a compromise suggestion (which doesn’t address the question of eminent domain). Let the Cavazos keep their land. Then re-run the U.S. border so that it misses their land and they can now be in Mexico. Maybe the next landowner contiguous to the Cavazos land is more amenable to eminent domain?

          1. Best option for everyone.

    2. Mean tweets > mean military action

  12. Shameful.

    1. Yes your politics, ideology, and love of democrats is shameful.

      Go fuck yourself leftie shit.

    2. I thought shame was your kink, Tony.

  13. In all seriousness, this isn’t the worst case of eminent domain abuse I’ve seen. Seizing land and property to put up a stadium or a private retail establishment is much worse. Just because I want to see more legal immigration doesn’t mean I need to pretend that the federal government using eminent domain to enforce immigration law is a terrible abuse of eminent domain.

    We can argue about the efficacy of the wall or how well and quickly the owners are compensated, but it seems to me that the injustice here, otherwise, is like when they throw evidence obtained without a warrant out of court and let a guilty murderer go free. It’s a sad thing when something like that happens, but on the other hand, that’s what’s supposed to happen in that situation, too. If we want to get rid of eminent domain entirely or improve it, there’s a way to do that.

    People who’ve had their property seized, at the very least, have a right to speedy and adequate compensation and to know, at the very least, that their property has been seized for a legitimate function of government. Even I’m a littler reluctant to argue, however, that anyone has the right to deprive the government of the ability to enforce immigration law.

    1. Bravo. This is beautiful satire. I don’t know how OBL is going to top this.

    2. Is it being seized for a legitimate function of government? If Biden isn’t planning on building a wall then likely nothing will be done with the land.

      If the Biden admin is seizing it so Texas can’t seize it to build a wall that would be of little comfort to the former owners, especially since it just means Texas will likely seize a different chunk of of their land to build a wall in a different place

      1. Oh, the Democrats are still planning a wall, but to keep Americans in. Enjoy District 11, citizen.

    3. How is putting up a border wall – which seems to be badly needed if immigration laws are to be enforced – even remotely an abuse of eminent domain law? Unless the compensation isn’t fair? (Hard for me to tell from the story)

      1. They’re more or less assuming eminent domain is always abusive.

        I’m not willing to pretend eminent domain isn’t, at best, a sad and sorry occurrence from a libertarian capitalist perspective. I compared it to letting murders go free if the evidence against them wasn’t obtained in a way that is thoroughly constitutional, but I also might compare it to the government compelling witness testimony in criminal trials. Forcing people to testify against their will–when they aren’t even charged with a crime–isn’t a very libertarian thing to do, but maybe some things can’t be avoided if people are to enjoy fair trials.

        In the meantime, I’ll maintain that taxation is theft and the double taxation of corporate taxes is double theft. So, yeah, I can tip my hat to the idea that eminent domain is, at best, a necessary evil. Most of the time, eminent domain really is used abusively, and Reason writes a lot about those cases.

        This probably isn’t one of those cases. It’s a guilt by association kind of story. It’s a bad story.

        1. Fair enough Ken. Thank you for your many insightful comments here!

          Certainly eminent domain has been horribly abused in many situations in which the specious argument is “once we build this then we get a lot more taxes so it’s in the public interest so it’s fair to do use eminent domain to do so”.

          But in this case there doesn’t seem to me to be a reasonable way for the government to do it’s job of enforcing immigration laws without seizing some private land near the border.

          I liked your example of forced testimony as un-libertarian but maybe a necessary evil. I think another example of the possibly necessary evil in courtrooms is forced jury service. I’m pretty uncomfortable with the idea of forced jury service but I’m not sure how you get a fair legal system without it.

    4. People who’ve had their property seized, at the very least, have a right to speedy and adequate compensation and to know, at the very least, that their property has been seized for a legitimate function of government.

      LOL!!! Now they’ll finally be able to sleep at night.

      Government’s main “legitimate function” is to protect our rights. Specifically, whose rights are they protecting by taking someone’s property, building an expensive and useless border wall all in the name of keeping people out of the country that I or Cavazos might want to associate with?

      Even I’m a littler reluctant to argue, however, that anyone has the right to deprive the government of the ability to enforce immigration law.

      What other rights beside property would you give up so that government can enforce their laws?

  14. I suppose it would be “extremist” or “insurrectionist” to ask, but if they’re not going to build a border wall what do the feds want the land for? Is it straight up FYTW or is there some other plan they haven’t seen fit to share with us little folk?

    I’ve been joshing progs on social media by telling them they will want a southern border wall after they pass their gun bans, since the cartels would swiftly take advantage of such an obvious money-making opportunity. Shit, maybe they took me seriously!

    1. The wall has been repurposed. It’s now explicitly for keeping dissident Americans in.

  15. In Biden’s defense, he can’t be expected to recall anything his handlers propped him up to promise on the campaign trail/basement.

  16. .We thought President Joe Biden would protect us.
    You thought wrong, dude.

  17. Biden Continues Trump Biden’s Seizures

    FTFY – It’s his problem now.

  18. Well well well. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    If we want a genuinely humane and libertarian approach to immigration, we can’t count on either major party.

    Team Blue talks a good game but in the end they are going to be as restrictionist as they need to be in order to secure the union vote.

    And Team Red is delusional in thinking that the public at large will ever support restrictionist measures that they prefer in order to keep out the ‘undesirables’ that they want. If ‘kids in cages’ was unacceptable, how could anything harsher receive broad public support?

    We can’t support either team when it comes to immigration. They are both pretty damn awful.

    1. You voted for Biden, fatty.

    2. A completely libertarian approach to immigration is completely impractical unless libertarian approaches to employment, healthcare, housing, and education are implemented. None of that is happening any time soon – in fact most of those policies are drifting more towards socialism as time goes on.

  19. “Ha ha!”

    Nelson Muntz


    Reason Staff: did you really think Biden would stop construction of the border wall?

    In two to three weeks, I predict Joe will discover that China is trading unfairly with us and it is time to get tough with China and to do something about their unfair trade practices.

    1. Don’t worry, when Biden figures out what sorts of problems he’s dealing with he’ll institute programs to deal with these problems. He’ll call his platform “Make America Great Again”.

    2. We voted for the lesser of two weevils.

  21. “We thought President Joe Biden would protect us. Now we’ve lost our land. We don’t even know what comes next,” says Baudilia Cavazos.


    1. That’s easy. Property taxes will be raised to make up for the lost property.

      1. What I love most about this is how the wall actually divides their land, rendering massive portions of land not specifically taken for the wall, inaccessible. Just to be clear, it’s only a “taking” if the government leaves you with absolutely NO imaginable economic use of the land. As long as the government’s lawyers can argue in court that there exists some theoretical purpose you could put “your” land to, even if no human being will buy the land from you for any price, and your property taxes will be calculated based on this entirely theoretical activity you “could” be doing with the land and how desirable the government deems it to be.

    2. More cages.

  22. Hooray Biden for continuing Trump policy! Woo hoo! Go Biden…. Go Biden….

    1. iT wAs ThE LeSsEr eViL

  23. Funny how ‘wrong, but within normal parameters’ has turned in to ‘keep doing what Trump was doing’.

  24. Speaking of immigration, don’t try to become an Australian citizen.

  25. Wait, you expected a Democrat to respect property rights? Republicans sometimes do so, in violation of their principles. For Democrats, that *is* one of their principles.

  26. “We thought…(POTUS)…would protect us (our property on the border). Despite promises…it’s now the government’s land.”
    It’s always been the government’s land, as the anti-rights constitutionalists would point out, see the U.S. constitution, e.g., property tax (the rent you pay on your lease) and eminent domain (the government’s legal permission to revoke your lease, seize their land, without a third party to decide the fairness).
    “We don’t even know what comes next.” Look in the mirror. Have you supported the U.S. political paradigm by voting? Did you understand that you were forfeiting your sovereignty, your rights? Did you learn anything when your property rights were violated by those you thought protected them? It’s been going on for 230+ years.

  27. I remember years ago stories of private property owners along the border complaining that illegal immigrants trespassed and damaged property and pleaded for stricter enforcement. Wonder if these families are benefiting from the illegal immigration in some way. Perhaps they get paid off by the coyotes?

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