Letter to the Editor

When will the wall be built?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

President Trump issued a statement saying that contracts will soon be let to start construction of the wall to prevent illegal passage from Mexico to the United States. The proposed wall, as currently described is approximately 1,000 miles long. Of that 632 miles, or 33 percent, is on Federal or Tribal lands, the remaining 67 percent or 1,340 miles are owned by states or are privately owned. Most of the land is located in Texas.

To build a structure, you must have access to or ownership of the land upon which it will reside. At present, neither is available for the construction of the border wall. As we have often seen, violation of Tribal land is difficult at best and near impossible at times. The wall, as planned, will be built on U.S. soil, and sometimes is a bit of a distance of the actual border. This will cause an access problem for people owning lands that extend south of the wall. As the process would normally evolve, agreements must be negotiated with each owner or entity for access to the property needed for the wall. There is a plethora of reasons for individuals or entities refusing to make their property available. So, what happens then? A remedy previously often used by President Trump Ė eminent domain. This option is not a quick and easy process. It takes place through the courts, and often times, cases go on for years, as the property owner has the right of due process. Itís possible that hundreds of cases will have to be tried to secure the total 1,000 miles. Considering all this, it seems questionable that the wall could be built during President Trumpís term of office.

Robert Sneitzer

Spirit Lake