President Trump's promised border wall — the $18 billion one with the "big beautiful door" and the holes in it so Americans aren't crushed by large bales of drugs tossed over the top — would be built on a lot of privately owned land should it ever, in fact, be built. About 1,400 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border remain without a continuous barrier, and much of this land would have to be confiscated via eminent domain for construction to proceed.
Trump himself is a known eminent domain enthusiast, which makes all the more noteworthy the report from Tommy Fisher, owner of one of four contracting companies selected to construct a wall prototype, that the White House has yet to address how eminent domain issues would be handled on this project.
"I believe we can construct a fairly soft footprint that stays within 60 feet of the current border that sits there today," Fisher said to the Washington Examiner, but still, the administration would have to "get us access and clearance."
While Washington may be able to overcome robust property protections in states like Texas by citing national security arguments, many property owners are likely to put up a serious fight. A December study of eminent domain use for previous border wall construction by ProPublica and the Texas Tribune found the Department of Homeland Security "issued low-ball offers," particularly to low-income families who could not afford a legal battle, while bungling condemnation orders and attempting to purchase land from people who did not own it.