KOLD INVESTIGATES: Backyard Border - Government could take Arizo - Tucson News Now

KOLD INVESTIGATES: Backyard Border - Government could take Arizonans land to build border wall

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The border wall is one of the most controversial and talked about issues in the country. But there’s one key part of the wall that’s not being discussed, the government would need to buy land from people in order to build parts of the wall - whether or not the people want to sell.

Kelly Kimbro is one of those people. She's a fifth-generation rancher near Douglas. 

“This is our life," she says, driving a truck on her property. Kimbro allowed the government to build a border fence years ago. It's less than five feet high. If the Trump administration builds the 15-foot high border wall, it would go right where the fence is now. Kimbro wants no part of it.

“The border wall is not going to increase border security. You can build a structure, but I can guarantee you people are going to go under it or over it," Kimbro said. She wants our country to have strict immigration policy. Stating the number of illegal immigrants and drug smugglers who have crossed the border on her land has steadily decreased over the last decade, and nosedived since President Trump took office.

[READ MORE: Trump's border wall models take shape in San DiegoHammers, axes will help test Trump border wall prototypes]

Kimbro told Tucson News Now she’s more scared of our government than any migrant or drug mule because of eminent domain. Eminent domain comes under the 5th amendment of the constitution – allowing the government to take somebody’s private property if they give that person “just compensation.” 

Kimbro says there’s no price tag for her land and way of life. “Eminent domain is a phrase that should not be used against United States citizens. You can’t just do this in the United States of America, it’s not right, to take the land from people who have worked on it for six generations. That’s not right."

Tucson News Now did some research and found the government admits it doesn't exactly how they would use eminent domain to get land along the 2,000 mile border, or how much it would cost.

[READ MORE: Conservatives say no to immigration in spending bill]

Earlier this year - The Department of Homeland Security issued this written response to a senator's question about eminent domain. Admitting while it hopes to buy the land from owners - "there are situations where that may not be possible."

The department also wrote it has no idea how much buying the land - or dealing with lawsuits from land owners - would cost taxpayers. We asked for clarification on the answers. DHS said it would respond, but never did.

Kimbro says she has yet to receive a letter from the government asking to buy her land. But the government has sent letters out to people in Texas.

Federal government letter to Texas landowner by Tucson News Now on Scribd

The government offers a deal for the land, but reserves the right to force people to sell. The government used eminent domain to take people's land when they built parts of the wall in Texas back in 2006, and many homeowners filed lawsuits.

Texas landowner's lawsuit over use of eminent domain by Tucson News Now on Scribd

The issue of eminent domain doesn't get the attention of other aspects of the building of a border wall.

“When it comes out, it’ll be too late. It's under the radar, and that’s not right. There are no ranchers or farmers who can afford to fight the federal government and try to keep their land, and in the end everybody loses," Kimbro said.

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