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 TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' 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 CastroHispanics still thriving with the economic growth of Trump era Pelosi employs committee chairs to tamp down calls for Trump impeachment Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment 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 TillisThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Lawmakers call for investigation after census hired registered sex offender MORE (N.C.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers MORE (Ky.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski celebrates birthday with electric scooter ride Overnight Energy: Park Service plans to pay full-time staff through entrance fees | Oil companies join blitz for carbon tax | Interior chief takes heat for saying he hasn't 'lost sleep' over climate change Democrats grill Trump Interior chief for saying he hasn't 'lost sleep' over climate change MORE (Alaska) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOn The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump Hillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity 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 EscobarHouse Democrats press leaders to start Trump impeachment WHIP LIST: Democrats who support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump Overnight Energy: Dems press Interior chief to embrace climate action | Lawmakers at odds on how to regulate chemicals in water | Warren releases climate plan for military 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 PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Trump-Pelosi fight threatens drug pricing talks 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."