Texas Dems warn of 'land grab' if Trump's emergency order survives

Texas Dems warn of 'land grab' if Trump's emergency order survives
House Democrats from Texas are pressing their Republican colleagues in the Senate to reject President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE's emergency declaration at the southern border, warning of a major "land grab" affecting property owners in the Lone Star State if Trump's border wall is realized.
The Democrats noted that Texas is home to roughly 1,200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border — much of it private property that could be seized to build Trump's promised barrier that he claims is necessary to prevent illegal immigration and crime.
"The people of Texas, and the private property owners of Texas, have the most to lose if President Trump is allowed to unilaterally go and build his border wall with an emergency declaration," Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroLawmakers can't reconcile weakening the SALT cap with progressive goals House Democrats reintroduce bill addressing diversity at State Department Julian Castro joins NBC and MSNBC as political analyst MORE (D-Texas) said Wednesday on a press call.
"We believe that it would be the largest federal land grab of Texas land in history."
The Senate is poised to vote Thursday on a House-passed resolution, sponsored by Castro, that would block Trump's emergency declaration at the southwest border.
The resolution is deemed "privileged," meaning it's guaranteed a vote in the GOP-led Senate, despite opposition from many Republicans in the upper chamber.
Still, at least five Republicans — Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands MORE (N.C.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFive things to watch in two Ohio special election primaries Up next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (Ky.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Schumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate Sarah Palin says she's praying about running for Senate against Murkowski Graham says he has COVID-19 'breakthrough' infection MORE (Alaska) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThis week: Senate starts infrastructure sprint Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet MORE (Utah) — are vowing to join every Democrat in voting for the measure, which would give it the simple majority needed to reach Trump's desk.
"This land grab is massive, it's un-American, it's un-Texan, and it continues to ignore the real issues that we're living with on the border," said Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), who represents a border district. 
Many of the recent migrants have come to the southern border from Central America, where violence and corruption are rampant. Gonzalez is calling for more aid to the troubled region, to provide "economic investment that will encourage the citizens of those countries to want to stay home." 
"That would be getting to the root of the problem," he said.
Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarLatina lawmakers discuss efforts to increase representation The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers recount the horror of Jan. 6 Migrant children at military bases: What is Biden doing? MORE (D-Texas), a freshman who represents the border city of El Paso, noted that Cornyn this week had issued a statement praising the recent passage of a bipartisan land-conservation bill, which included provisions protecting property owners along the Red River, which runs north of Dallas.
“After years of uncertainty, Texas families who live and own land along the Red River can rest easy that the federal government has no rightful claim to their property,” Cornyn said in a statement.
Escobar is asking that he apply the same protections to landowners along the border.
"He's talking about protecting private property, American property owners, in North Texas," she said. "We would ask that he have the same enthusiasm for protecting the ... private property rights of his constituents in South Texas, as well."
Trump has sought to use his order, issued last month, to shift billions of dollars that Congress had previously approved for other programs — including $3.6 billion for military construction projects — to expand the border wall he'd promised during the 2016 campaign.
The declaration came after Congress rejected $5.7 billion Trump had demanded for new wall construction as part of an enormous government spending package passed by both chambers in February. GOP leaders had pressed Trump to sign the bill to prevent another government shutdown. Trump did so, but only reluctantly, since it excluded the wall funding. The emergency declaration was the president's strategy for side-stepping Congress to secure that money.
Democrats, joined by a handful of Republicans, are fighting back, characterizing the emergency declaration as an executive power grab that violates the Constitution's separation of powers and defies Congress's unique authority to dictate where taxpayer dollars are spent.
Trump has promised "100 percent" to veto the measure.
"Any rational, reasonable judge out there is going to see that this is not an emergency," said Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas), yet another border Democrat. "Those of us who live on the border, we certainly know that there's no emergency down there."
The Texas Democrats are also pointing to the potential loss of federal dollars if military construction funding is shifted to underwrite the border wall. The Pentagon has not identified which projects would be specifically affected, but Texas is home to a number of huge military installations, including Fort Bliss and Joint Base San Antonio. 
Cuellar estimated the losses to the state could be $520 million.
Cornyn and Cruz "should be supporting our troops," said Escobar, "not supporting President Trump's campaign commitments."