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 John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report 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 CastroJulian Castro hints at brother Joaquin's Senate run Dems prepare next steps after Trump's veto Joaquin Castro closing in on 2020 Senate bid: report 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."
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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 TillisRepublicans up for reelection fear daylight with Trump The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies first veto after latest clash with Senate GOP 12 Republican senators defy Trump on emergency declaration  MORE (N.C.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget 12 Republican senators defy Trump on emergency declaration  MORE (Ky.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans up for reelection fear daylight with Trump The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies first veto after latest clash with Senate GOP MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget 12 Republican senators defy Trump on emergency declaration  MORE (Alaska) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Dems prepare next steps after Trump's veto Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget 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 EscobarOn The Money: Trump issues first veto, warning of 'reckless' resolution | US hits Russia with new sanctions | Dems renew push for contractor back pay | Lawmakers seek probe into undocumented workers at Trump businesses Hispanic Caucus demands probe into Trump Organization hiring undocumented workers O'Rourke nabs 2020 endorsement from his successor in Congress 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.
 
A number of states and outside groups have already sued the president, and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiMulvaney: Military projects impacted by wall funding haven't been decided yet Left-wing Dems in minority with new approach to spending Julian Castro hints at brother Joaquin's Senate run MORE (D-Calif.) is vowing to join the legal challenge if Castro's resolution fails.
 
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."