Some landowners with property along the U.S.-Mexico border are preparing legal challenges with the expectation that the Trump administration will use eminent domain to seize land for construction of the president's planned border wall.
The Associated Press reports that the Trump administration would face legal challenges from multiple landowners in Texas, challenges that would not be bypassed if the president follows through on his threats to declare a national emergency over illegal border crossings in order to build a wall.
“You could give me a trillion dollars and I wouldn’t take it,” landowner Eloisa Cavazos, who owns property along the Rio Grande river, told the AP. “It’s not about money.”
One group the Trump administration will have to face in its fight to secure land for the wall is a Roman Catholic diocese: La Lomita chapel, a historic church built in the late 1800s that still holds services today, has fought to prevent government surveyors from accessing its land, which reportedly falls directly in the administration's desired enforcement zone.
The church's pastor explained to the AP that he believes Trump's plan for a border wall violates Catholic teachings, including the church's responsibility to protect migrants.
“It would poison the water,” Father Roy Snipes told the AP. “It would still be a sacred place, but it would be a sacred place that was desecrated.”
The Trump administration has been in a battle with Democrats in Congress for weeks over funding for the wall, while Trump has threatened to bypass Congress entirely and call a national emergency in order to allocate funds for the wall.
A partial government shutdown that began in December when lawmakers were unable to agree over funding for the government stretched into its nineteenth day on Wednesday, with Trump adamant in his demands for border wall funding in any bill to reopen the federal government.