President Joe Biden ran on a campaign promise of ceasing all further construction of a wall at the U.S.–Mexico border, as well as ending all ongoing eminent domain lawsuits to seize private land along the border to facilitate the Trump-era construction.
Just three months into his presidency, Biden has now apparently violated both of those related vows, as there are rumors that some border wall projects could resume — and his U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) just won a lawsuit to seize control of a swathe of private land along the border, as Politico reported.
Promises made, promises broken
In August 2020, during an interview with NPR, Biden had promised that there would “not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration.” Asked about pending “land confiscation” lawsuits, the now-president further vowed: “End. Stop. Done. Over. Not going to do it. Withdraw the lawsuits. We’re out. We’re not going to confiscate the land.”
— Lulu (@lourdesgnavarro) August 5, 2020
It initially appeared as if Biden would make good on those promises, as he issued an executive order on his first day in office that ended the declared emergency at the southern border, halted all wall construction, and launched a 60-day review of the appropriated and redirected funding and plans related to border wall construction projects.
Government granted immediate possession
Yet, with that 60-day ordered review having elapsed, Politico noted that, according to a Texas civil rights group, there are still around 140 pending eminent domain lawsuits related to the border — minus the one that was just concluded in favor of Biden’s administration, a suit that had begun in 2018 during former President Donald Trump’s administration for the explicit purpose of taking the land to build the border wall.
According to Law & Crime, the roughly 6.5-acre piece of land in question belonged to the Cavazos family, who has lived along the Rio Grande River since at least 1760, long before the United States was even a nation and the river became a border between the U.S. and Mexico.
On April 12, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, in a 21-page ruling, dismissed a number of motions filed by the Cavazos family — who have been fighting the government to protect their land for decades — and ordered possession of the parcel along the border to be immediately transferred over to the federal government.
Disappointment toward Biden
“I’m…very, very disappointed in Joe Biden. I thought he was a man of his word but apparently he’s not keeping his word,” family member Reynaldo “Rey” Anzaldua Cavazos told Politico. “He said not one more foot of wall and no land forfeitures. We took him at his word and we want him to keep his word.”
“I thought when he said no more wall that we would get no more wall. But apparently not,” another member of the family, Jose Alfredo “Fred” Cavazos, told the media outlet. “He decided to turn around and do something about finishing the wall so we are very disappointed.”
Meanwhile, Politico noted that, again, in spite of Biden’s earlier promises, there are still dozens of similar cases where the U.S. government is seeking to take possession of private land for public use along the border, and aside from some requests for delays during that initial review period, it doesn’t appear that Biden’s DOJ is seeking to dismiss or withdraw from those eminent domain land-grabbing lawsuits.
To be sure, President Biden could decline to build a portion of the wall on the land seized from the Cavazos family or even cede it back to them, but at least as of now, he has violated his campaign promises and greatly disappointed his anti-wall and open-borders supporters, whether activists or just private landowners who outdate the border and the federal government itself.