Texas man sues over fear Trump’s emergency declaration will cause ancestors’ burial sites to be moved

A Texas landowner filed a lawsuit on Thursday over concern that President Trump’s emergency declaration would force his ancestors’ bodies to be exhumed in order to build a border wall.

Ramiro Ramirez is one of seven plaintiffs in a new federal lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C., against Trump’s national emergency declaration, Buzzfeed News reported.

Ramiro Ramirez owns property covering two historic cemeteries along the U.S.-Mexico border, and his sister, Sylvia Ramirez, told the outlet that federal surveyors have been examining the area.

{mosads}“We have such a deep, strong connection with our ancestors and with the land and with the final resting place of most of my Jackson ancestors,” Sylvia Ramirez told Buzzfeed News. “That’s where I plan to be buried and where my brother Ramiro wants to as well.”

Most of the family’s direct ancestors are reportedly buried at the Jackson Ranch Cemetery, dating back to their great-great-grandfather Nathaniel Jackson, who built the church in the late 1800s.

The family has not heard back from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials about the government’s plans for the Jackson Ranch Church and Cemetery and the Eli Jackson Cemetery, Buzzfeed reported.

“There are survey markers that reach all of the way to the road, which is the front of the property where the cemetery is located,” Ramirez told Buzzfeed. “They have an interest in the entire property, and what that interest is, is not clear.”

A spokesperson for CBP told the outlet that the two cemeteries are within the “enforcement zone” of a proposed border wall site, but said it was not part of a “recently awarded contract.”

“In circumstances where cultural and/or historical resources exist within the alignment of planned barrier, CBP employs mitigation strategies to avoid or minimize impacts to these resources to the greatest extent practicable,” the spokesperson said.

The president last month declared a national emergency over illegal immigration along the southern border.

The strategic move was meant to grant Trump access to $3.6 billion in military constructions funds for pay for construction of a border wall. 

The Senate on Thursday voted 59-41 to pass a resolution of disapproval blocking the declaration. The House has already passed the resolution.

The resolution now heads to Trump’s desk, and he is expected to use the first veto of his presidency to overturn it.

Buzzfeed News obtained the lawsuit, brought by environmental advocacy group Earthjustice, in advance of its filing.

The other plaintiffs include environmental group Rio Grand International Study Center;  the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, an association of indigenous peoples who have lived around the Rio Grande; a woman who lives near the Rio Grande; the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement; the California Wilderness Coalition and GreenLatinos.

Tags Donald Trump National Emergency declaration Texas Texas Trump border wall US-Mexico Border
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