BROWNSVILLE, Texas - Plans to complete the original border fence between Texas and Mexico have resumed.
But it’s not the wall promised by President Trump.
The Department of Justice wants to take more parcels of land on the south Texas border and is notifying owners through the local newspaper.
Champion family settled with the government for a tract of land on the border four years ago now occupied by the border fence.
Page after page, the names of more than 200 people are listed on a legal notice by the DOJ. Property owners whose lands are in the path of an uncompleted border fence.
The announcement, made on every Wednesday issue of the Brownsville Herald during the month of June, seeks to get most of the people named to respond to the eminent domain cases pending for nearly a decade after the 2006 Border Fence Act was signed into law.
Fernando Champion, 62, is one of several in his family listed in the notice. He has dealt with the government for years since the original border fence was built.
He says he’s received 7 letters since February as the government renews its effort to continue about 50 miles of border fence that were never finished.
“They’re trying to figure out who the owners are or the heirs to these parcels of land,” Champion said.
It’s one of the obstacles the government has faced.
The government is betting on people like Champion, middle and lower class families on the border who prefer to give up the fight against the inevitable and stop paying property taxes on land they no longer use.
“Economically it makes sense, you know? To go and take their offer,” Champion said. “Because I’m just a simple, humble guy. I’m not going to lawyer-up over something this small. But just the very concept, the very idea, I didn’t agree with.”
The Justice Department says it will fairly compensate the Champions for a total of 3.6 acres of land. Money that will be divided among many heirs as President Trump continues to look for other ways to fund and fulfill his promise to build a wall.
“You’re just trying to Band-Aid the problem,” Champion said.