Congressman Gonzalez Requests Meeting with President Biden and Officials on South Texas Property Seizures and Flooding Risks
WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, April 27, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) sent a letter to President Biden requesting a meeting to discuss the seizure of property along the Southern Border and flooding risks due to the broken levee in Hidalgo County Precinct 3. Congressman Gonzalez highlighted the urgent nature of these matters and the dangers they pose to the communities he represents.
“When President Biden took office, he promised the end of border wall construction yet the land takings have continued,” said Congressman Gonzalez. “I’ve requested a meeting with the President and his top officials to get to the bottom of the issue and discuss next steps before hurricane season is in full swing. I hope that we will meet quickly and devise a solution to prevent the destruction of homes, public property, and agricultural operations in Hidalgo County.
In the letter, the Congressman voiced his frustration for the Biden administration’s lack of consideration for the people of South Texas: “This administration cannot repeat the mistakes of the past with respect to our border communities. Our people should not be left on the wrong side of the wall, detached from the rest of the country, and left with land worth far less than it was absent a wall, and with no compensation for that loss. Our community continually bears the burden of failed policy, and when we offer solutions to the problems in our back yards, it appears that our voices are not heard.”
The full letter can be found here and below.
Dear President Biden,
I believe your Administration has the potential to make history, and it is my hope that you will listen to the people of South Texas about the policies that impact our home. Mr. President, please let this letter be the end of more than thirty years of partisan gridlock, and the beginning of a new way forward on immigration and border security. While I am not an in favor of open, uncontrolled borders, I have long asserted that a physical barrier “from sea to shining sea” is nothing more than a boondoggle. I was relieved to see your Proclamation on the Termination Of Emergency With Respect To The Southern Border Of The United States And Redirection Of Funds Diverted To Border Wall Construction but recent events have given me cause for concern.
My constituents and I understood this proclamation as a pause on the construction and funding for the border wall, and an end the Trump Administration’s emergency declaration. We interpreted this to mean that the waivers that authorized land acquisition were also terminated; necessitating additional steps by the government prior to moving forward with wall construction.
However, a recent decision out of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas contradicts this Executive Order. In The United States of America vs. 6.584 ACRES OF LAND, more or less, Hidalgo County, Texas; Eloise Rosa Cavazos; et al., Civ. Action No. 7:20-cv-00244, (S.D. TX) April, 2021 the court issued an order under the takings clause of the United States Constitution for the purposes of border wall construction. South Texans are concerned that these land takings do not align with the promise of “not another foot” and are seeking answers about why the U.S. Department of Justice continues to pursue this.
Furthermore, construction of the wall caused flooding issues when it breached a levee in Precinct 3 of Hidalgo County. With hurricane season quickly approaching, we are urgently seeking your assistance to restore flood mitigation infrastructure impacted by wall construction. We must not allow conditions to worsen, all the while taking lands from South Texans who have lived along the border for centuries.
I recently discussed these issues with Secretary Mayorkas, and was not informed of additional takings planned in the 15th District of Texas. Please accept this letter as a request for notice of any and all planned work along the international boundary between the United States and Mexico located in my congressional district.
This administration cannot repeat the mistakes of the past with respect to our border communities. Our people should not be left on the wrong side of the wall, detached from the rest of the country, and left with land worth far less than it was absent a wall, and with no compensation for that loss. Our community continually bears the burden of failed policy, and when we offer solutions to the problems in our back yards, it appears that our voices are not heard.
With this in mind, I respectfully request a meeting with you and your top personnel overseeing the taking of lands along the Southern Border to discuss this urgent matter and how we may best move forward.