Biden returns land to Texas family after it was seized by Trump for border wall

Cavazos family has been fighting the federal government for their land for years

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Thursday 09 December 2021 00:35
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Construction halted on Trump's border wall
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The land of a family in Texas that was seized earlier this year for the construction of a wall on the US-Mexican border will be returned by the Joe Biden administration.

For several years, the Cavazos family has been fighting the federal government for their land, passed on to them before the Rio Grande river became an international border, in South Texas.

The Texas Civil Rights Project, a nonprofit representing the family, tweeted on Tuesday that their client Eloisa Cavazos had her land returned “after fighting against the government’s seizure and border wall construction since 2018.”

“Now that we have successfully stopped the construction of a needless and wasteful border wall on their property, Ms Cavazos and her family will be able to continue their quiet and fulfilling life beside the Rio Grande,” the group added.

The family had battled against the Bush and Obama administrations to preserve their 6.5-acre property, but when Donald Trump pushed to erect a border wall, the Cavazos family delayed court proceedings.

They were hoping to end a years-long fight during Mr Biden’s tenure after he pledged to not construct the wall.

In April a federal judge ruled that the administration could take “immediate possession” of their land.

Months later, however, the US government decided to return the Cavazos family their land after reaching an agreement.

“I would like to thank my cousin, Rey Anzaldua, my brother, Alfredo Cavazos, and my sister, Baudilia Rodriguez for their continued support and tireless efforts through the process of redeeming our family’s land these past four years resulting in this unbelievably positive outcome,” Ms Cavazos said in a statement to CNN.

Mr Biden suspended the construction of the former president’s border wall project upon taking office.

He plans to return more than $2bn (£1.5bn) that the Trump administration diverted from the Pentagon to help pay for the wall.

“Building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border and costs American taxpayers billions of dollars is not a serious policy solution or responsible use of federal funds,” the Office of Management and Budget had said in June.

The US government has built walls and other barriers along the 3,200-km-long international border for decades to eliminate some of the easier routes of avoiding checkpoints.

Mr Trump, during his tenure, set aside almost $15bn (£11.3bn) for the construction of a “virtually impenetrable” wall.

Despite facing pushback from rights activists, the Republican president had built 725km of the wall, moving quickly and waiving requirements for environmental reviews and mediation.

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