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Trump’s Border Wall Is an Expensive, Ineffective Application of Eminent Domain

April 25, 2019 / K. Grace Hulseman

The Trump administration has made building a wall along the southwest border a cornerstone of its overall agenda. The proposed wall has generated intense debate, and Congress even while under unified Republican control has repeatedly refused to appropriate the amount of money demanded by President Donald Trump to fund the project. At the end of 2018, the standoff resulted in the longest government shutdown in American history. As President Trump continues to blatantly misappropriate government funds including $3.6 billion in money allocated for military construction to build the wall, he has ignored an equally important element: land. Building the wall will require seizure of thousands of acres of privately owned land along the border. Existing laws, namely the Fifth Amendment and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996, allow the government to seize land for public use specifically, the IIRIRA allows the government to construct border fencing.