Trump Administration seeking permission to survey private land for border wall

National News

FILE – In this Aug. 23, 2019 file photo, workers break ground on new border wall construction about 20 miles west of Santa Teresa, N.M. Construction on a Pentagon-funded portion of the border wall began near Yuma, Arizona, this week, just as federal authorities announced they are diverting even more defense funds for wall projects. Crews began constructing a 30-foot steel fence along the Colorado River this week. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump Administration has sent letters to dozens of homes in Texas and other border states, seeking permission to survey their land for future border barriers. That’s according to two U.S. Defense officials.

An Army spokeswoman said the right of entry letter, if signed by the property owner, lets the government go on private land to conduct environmental assessments, property surveys, and other work. If not signed, the Department of Justice may order court-ordered access to the property.

The move comes as the administration tries to ramp up construction of border barriers in areas that are privately owned.

Generally, the government can take over privately own land for public use in what’s called “eminent domain” They then attempt to pay a fair price for it.

Officials said the projects on the land being assessed would be using pentagon funds the Trump Administration redirected from various military construction projects. So far, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has updated about 78 miles of existing border walls.

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