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Texas Tribune @TexasTribune
, 9 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
1/ President Trump is set to make his case for a border wall tonight.

The government would have to seize a lot of land to build a wall. That didn't end well for many Texans the last time that happened.

We investigated with @ProPublica in 2017:
2/ Our investigation found federal officials cut unfair deals, secretly waived legal safeguards for property owners, and abused eminent domain to acquire land from Texas landowners in the Rio Grande Valley.
3/ Eminent domain is a process that should take years.

But in 2008, Homeland Security snapped up 564 acres in the Rio Grande Valley in mere months.
4/ DHS gave landowners just 30 days to make a deal before the government would go after their land by force.

They should have had time to fight, but they didn’t.
5/ In less than a year, Homeland Security filed more than 360 lawsuits against property owners.

They used a legal loophole so the agency wouldn’t have to formally appraise the land, making lowball offers based on substandard estimates instead.
6/ The government paid retired teacher Juan Cavazos $21,500 for his land. He couldn’t afford a lawyer to fight for more.

But other landowners who could afford lawyers got deals that, on average, *tripled* the opening bids.
7/ Sometimes, the government paid people for property they didn’t own.

Other times, it condemned land without identifying an owner or researching basic facts about the property.
8/ The deals were so rushed the government paid the wrong people.

Roberto Pedraza was paid $20,500 for land he didn’t own.

He got to keep the money.
9/9 Read our full story here.
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