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

Texas Dems warn of 'land grab' if Trump's emergency order survives
 
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 of color urge Democratic leadership to protect underserved communities in coronavirus talks This week: Congress set for bipartisan coronavirus talks as clock ticks Sherman joins race for House Foreign Affairs gavel 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 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Lincoln Project expands GOP target list, winning Trump ire MORE (N.C.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies After trillions in tax cuts for the rich, Republicans refuse to help struggling Americans MORE (Ky.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsProgressive Jewish group endorses Biden Poll: Gideon leads Collins by 8 points in Maine Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiBipartisan senators ask congressional leadership to extend census deadline Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS MORE (Alaska) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Overnight Defense: Air Force general officially becomes first African American service chief | Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure | State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure 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 EscobarHispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's latest plan on racial inequality Democrats hope clash resonates with key bloc: Women 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."