Border Fence: Government Stingy with Just Compensation
Amendment V in the Bill Of Rights states the government is not allowed to seize private property for public use without just compensation. Landowners on the border of America and Mexico claim the government is not compensating them to seize their property and put up a fence.
Fox News interviewed Teofilio Flores, a cotton farmer in Texas. The government offered him $1,650 for some of his backyard. He agreed, thinking it sounded fair. It wasn’t until later he learned his neighbor received 40 times that and another neighbor received $1 million.
Is the Justice Department targeting poor farmers with low prices since they can’t afford to sue the government? Are they giving bigger handouts to the ones with more money since they can afford to sue? Attorney Corinna Spencer-Scheurich, who represented some of the farmers, seems to think so. The differences “underscores how unfair these original offers were,” she told FOX News.
The federal attorneys clamored for an excuse in response to these allegations and said low numbers were just starting offers and could be adjusted later. Right.
The AP looked over 300 Texas land cases and found that large amounts of settlement money went to a group of owners that could afford the attorneys to sue the government. But many of the people who won their cases have citrus groves or commercial operations. Those make the land more valuable. But it’s not just farmers that are getting the short end of the stick.
They offered The Nature Conservancy $114,000 for 8 acres. In August they settled for almost $1 million.
A developer had to get rid of his plans for an entertainment district along the Rio Grande in Brownsville and the government only offered $233,300 for his land. After three years in court, both sides settled on $4.7 million.
Our Founding Fathers knew private property was essential to freedom. At first Thomas Jefferson wanted the phrase “life, liberty, and property” in the Declaration of Independence, but changed it to “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.”
Everyone needs to be properly compensated on the value of their private property, whether they can afford an attorney or not.