Paralegal Says Landowners Along Border Can Fight for Just Compensation

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BROWNSVILLE – The federal government will be reaching out to landowners to discuss rights of entry.

Simply put, they want to start building new access roads and new portions of the wall and they'll likely need private property along the Rio Grande Valley to do it.

Filled with beautiful trees and a lot of character, two archers along the Texas-Mexico border is Brownsville resident Pamela Taylor’s oasis.

She says at 17, she left the United Kingdom to move to Brownsville to follow the love of her life, a U.S. soldier. 

She told CHANNEL 5 NEWS her husband built this home for her. She says it's priceless.

“They were putting in this flooring at Christmas. That's all I see is the hard work that people put into my home," she said.

She said if U.S. Customs and Border Protection comes knocking, she won't answer.

Georgina Guzman is a paralegal for the Texas Civil Rights Project. She said her office sent out a flyer to landowners along the border last November.

She explained though the government retains the right to take property, property owners have rights as well.

"They do have the right to disagree with the government's offer. They do have the right to be offered what is called just compensation," she said.

Guzman said landowners also have the right to be compensated for devaluation.

"Sometimes what the government – what they do is they take only a strip of the property or they cut it in half. Well, that devalues the value of the property so they have the right to be compensated," she explained.

She said property owners have options if they don't like the offer the government makes.

"They can request a jury trial in federal court," Guzman told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Guzman said at the completion of that trial, 12 jury members will decide the amount the government must pay the land owner.

She added the most important thing to remember is to never sign any waivers the government sends you regarding your land until an attorney looks them over.  

Taylor says she plans to live the rest of her days in the house her husband built.

"Nobody's going to move me," she said.


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