RGV Woman Cautions People against Land Requests from Government

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BROWNSVILLE – A Rio Grande Valley woman said there’s a possibility the federal government will continue taking possession of land to build a border wall.

The Trigo family, of Sullivan City, said they received a letter stating they would need at least an acre of their 10-acre property for construction.

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley professor Eloisa Tamez battled against the government to maintain possession of her property 10 years ago. She said they wanted to build the fence in her land.  

She did not give in. Instead, Tamez fought the government for two years in court to keep what she said was rightfully hers.

“The total amount that the government took that was grabbed from me was a quarter acre,” she said. “I say taken from me because I did not agree to do it. It was just done.”

Tamez took the federal government to court when they told her they would be taking a quarter acre of her 3-acre property in El Calaboz. She said the federal government offered her a $100 for the property.  

“I am indigenous to this land. I didn’t come here from anywhere else. I was here, my ancestors were here,” she said.

The UTRGV professor said the land belonged to her family since the 1700s. She advised whoever receives a pink slip from the government requesting their land to be cautious.

“They need to start asking questions, and they need to look at everything the government presents you,” she said. “We cannot be afraid to ask that our rights be recognized. We cannot be afraid to do that.”

Tamez lost the legal battle to keep her land. However, she hopes her actions encourage others to fight for their property.

“Another wall or taller wall signifies to me another Band-Aid to a symptom. It’s another symptom to take care of a problem, and the problem is not dealt with,” she said.  

During the court battle, Tamez said the government upped her compensation to an undisclosed amount. She said the majority of the money went to create a scholarship fun for graduate nursing students at UTRGV. 

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