Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“But where says some is the king of America? I'll tell you friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the royal brute of Britain. ... so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king.”     Thomas Paine,    Common Sense, January, 1776

January 10, 2008

The Border Fence And Property Rights

by Doug Mataconis

It seems that the push for a fence on the southern border of the United States is about to become a really big theft:

The government is readying 102 court cases against landowners in Arizona, California and Texas for blocking efforts to select sites for a fence along the Mexican border, a Department of Homeland Security official said yesterday.

With the lawsuits expected soon, the legal action would mark an escalation in the clash between the government and the property owners. The Bush administration wants to build 370 miles of fencing and 300 miles of vehicle barriers by the end of the year.

A number of property owners have granted the government access to their land, but others have refused. The agency sent letters to 135 of them last month, warning that they had 30 days to comply or face court action.


Some opponents of the fence say the government is violating the rights of indigenous landowners, descendants of American Indians and others who claim ancestral rights to the land or whose families were awarded property through Spanish land grants.

One holdout, Eloisa Garcia Tamez, 72, owns three acres in El Calaboz, Tex., about 12 miles west of Brownsville, a city at the state’s southernmost tip. Tamez said her property was part of a Spanish land grant and her grandfather was Lipan Apache, a tribe not officially recognized by Washington but known to have existed in Texas and Mexico.

“I’m waiting for whatever they’ve got coming and I’m not going to sign. I’m not,” Tamez said.

I’m not a border fence fan to begin with — to me it seems like more of a gimmick than a solution. But if the only way to build it is to violate people’s property rights, then I say scrap the whole thing.

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  1. Penn & Teller did a nice job of pointing out just how stupid the entire border fence idea was on their show. Waste of money, waste of time, violation of individual freedoms, all in support of horrible policy.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 10, 2008 @ 1:20 pm
  2. “But if the only way to build it is to violate people’s property rights, then I say scrap the whole thing.”

    It violates my property rights and I live in the mid-west… Use you brain… Yes, that’s it… Why is his/her land property rights more special than my money property rights? Property is property whether in the form of cash or dirt.

    Comment by ed42 — January 10, 2008 @ 4:58 pm
  3. The solution is to confront the reason why people come here illegally.

    Comment by uhm — January 10, 2008 @ 5:25 pm
  4. CNN just hit the border fence story again today.

    The mayor of nearby McAllen, TX took the landowners’ side and Tamez has indicated that she will not let the surveyors on her land…I suspect even if she loses the lawsuit. God bless the right to keep and bear arms.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 17, 2008 @ 12:46 pm

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