Washington, Nov 23 (efe-epa).- The administration of outgoing United States President Donald Trump, ordered the purchase of 21.35 sqkms of private land for the construction of the border wall with Mexico in 2017, the Government Accountability Office said Monday.
According to the office, an independent congressional investigation body, the federal government “acquired 135 private sections or sections of land and is working to acquire 991 additional sections” as of July.
In a report, the agency said the land acquisition process, especially in southern Texas, was planned to last between 21 and 30 months and not the usual 12 months purchases of this type usually take in other regions.
“More time is needed for the government to work with landowners to ensure they have access to and are fairly compensated for any negative impact on the value of the property remaining between the border barrier and the Rio Grande, according to Patrol officials. Border,” the investigation read.
Another reason that may delay the process is missing or incomplete land records.
The document said that in January 2017, Trump directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to “immediately plan, design, and construct a wall or other physical barriers along the southern border,” which would add or replace 1,052 kilometers of pedestrian barriers and vehicles built as of the fiscal year 2015.
The investigation added that “of the almost 2,000 miles (3,218.6 kilometers) of the southern border, approximately 30 percent is federal land,” while private, tribal and state lands constitute the remaining 70% of the border.
The Border Patrol and the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the Department of Justice, are involved in the process of acquiring private lands, the report said.
The leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, and his colleagues Dick Durbin, Tom Udall and Martín Heinrich – who in August 2019 asked the US Comptroller General, Gene Dodaro, to investigate these purchases – on Monday said this Administration “continues to actively seize private land from farmers and ranchers to build Trump’s wasteful and divisive border wall.”
“We call on the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to immediately halt any effort to take private land from farmers and ranchers against their will,” they said. EFE-EPA