Texas has long been known as a state with a rebel quality and its residents are often to thank for this. So, it might surprise you to learn that even In Texas, the government can, in fact, take your land. To the victims of this process, the effects are far-reaching. Some never fully recover from the economic loss, especially if the land was tied to how they make a living.
ABC 13 notes that recently eminent domain has resurfaced in the news based on the proposed border wall. Residents who have properties on the border worry that the wall could cause them to lose certain rights to their own property and rightly so. While there are certainly some residents who are only too eager to give up property rights and build the wall, there are other residents who do not support the move.
So, what exactly is eminent domain? It allows the U.S. government to take over private lands and repurpose them for public use. In return, the government must give the owner “just compensation” but most owners who are forced into the eminent domain process rarely call the proposed payment fair. To avoid this, some owners sell early when the first buyers come knocking.
The Texas Constitution also requires “adequate compensation,” but what value would you place on the homestead or farm that had been in your family for generations? What if the property had oil that you had been enjoying the profitable rights to? Would you prefer to give that up for one lump sum payment and forfeit any future profit?
While Houston is a long way off from the Mexican border, there are many residents in the city who own properties further south. If the proposed wall does make it to your property, it is probably a good idea to decide one of two things: how much you want for your property or how hard you are willing to fight.