Texans had a peaceful rally the same day violence erupted at another rally in Charlottesville. Here are some highlights:
Marianna Trevino Wright – “This was a surreal moment for me, where reality is being denied, not only to me, but in the public realm, and the government has undertaken a campaign of deceit and deliberate misinformation. People believe that this wall is going to be on the border. They don’t know that residential communities, that holy grounds, religious sites and other places, public lands, are going to be effectively cut off from America.” A US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) representave told her that there would be, “Armed federal agents on private property to make sure that their contractors are not deterred from doing the work they’ve been ordered to do.” Then Wright gave a concluding warning, “If you have a home or a business or a property within 25 miles of the border, you’re on notice now.” The consequence of the construction of this wall would be, “We would not have access to our property.”
Wright stopped workers from clearing land on private property 1.2 miles from the Rio Grande on July 20, 2017. Chief Manuel Fontana informed her that CBP can legally seize any private land within 25 miles of the border.
Efrén Olivares, Civil Rights Attorney – “The best way to resist against this abomination of a ‘border wall’ or a ‘border fence’ is to know what our rights are, so that when the government comes knocking on our door asking to take our land, we know what our rights are and how to defend them. So, the very basic thing, if you take one thing from my few minutes here: I want you all to know that anyone who owns land that the government wants to condemn, they, the government, must provide written notice and a very precise description of the piece of land that they want to take from you, why they want to take it, because they can only take private property for ‘public use.’ So they need to explain that.
“And perhaps, most importantly, they need to pay the landowner just compensation for the land. That is provided in the US Constitution [Amendment V], ‘Just Compensation.’ What does that mean? It typically means fair market value, the amount of money that you would be willing to sell that land for. And we’ve seen it time and time again, that many landowners don’t know that they have the right to say, ‘No,’ to the first offer. Always, the federal government will show up to your door and lowball you – offer $100. We’ve seen this, $100 for over an acre of land, and after pushing back legally, that landowner got $56,000 for her land. That’s 560 times more, so that just gives you an idea of how abusive the federal government can be when they try to take private land for public use, much more these days with this federal government.”
Once Just Compensation is offered, Olivares explained, one can then appeal to the courts with help from the Texas Civil Rights Project. “If you don’t reach an agreement for the amount of money that they want for the land, you have the right to request a jury trial.” Juries, Olivares went on, are selected from the county where the case is tried. “Your neighbors, residents from your county, would be the ones deciding how much money the government from Washington, D.C., must pay you. So, I would take those odds any day. And, importantly, the Texas Civil Rights Project is helping with this. We’re representing clients with eminent domain action. So you can do this: if you have questions, or if you need assistance, feel free to reach out, and we will be more than happy to help you or your family and neighbors who are affected.”
Vicente González, US Congressman, Texas’s 15th District – “This is our America,” said González, who represents many of those whose lands will be taken. “Building a wall between Mexico and the United States will put us on the wrong side of history. The Amorite wall didn’t work. The long walls of Athens didn’t work. The Great Wall of China didn’t work. The wall of Berlin was a failure. And a wall along our border will be a tragic failure for the United States government.”
You can help! We need everyone to contact CBP and Texans to contact their Senators. Click here to find out how.
Source: Save The Mission! Save the River! Resist the Wall! Rally and Protest, August 12, 2017. The Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club is present at all the No Border Wall events. See their page for updates.
We can stop this if we elect representatives to congress who will fight to protect our rights, especially in Texas. Please go to Adam Bell for U.S. Congress House of Representatives Texas District 3. It is a competitive district, and we need your help to win. Please click the link to DONATE.
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Thanks for spreading the word! While we must stand out in support of those who suffered in Charlottesville, VA, the events along the Texas border must not get lost in the news.