People who live in Pennsylvania may not feel all that concerned about how the proposal to build a border wall may affect their property rights. After all, they are several states away from the south. However, for people who own land in any of the border states or who stand to inherit land in these areas from family members, the situation may be different.
In 2017, CNN reported that the Trump administration had already begun to seize land at the border even without approval to build the wall. Some of the actions taken involved restarting dormant litigation against property owners in the border states. Approximately, two-thirds of U.S. land bordering Mexico belongs to private owners.
Thus, the government would need to either convince owners to sell or give permission to build the wall. The most likely way to do this would be to rely on eminent domain. The complex litigation involved in this process could cost the government millions of dollars. At least a dozen attorneys were reportedly earmarked to handle this process at a cost of $2 million. Congress also reportedly set aside $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of wall.
A follow-up article published by CNN in 2019, reports that some advocacy groups and landowners are fighting back. One advocacy group, Public Citizen, filed a lawsuit on behind of a nature preserve and three landowners affected by the proposed landgrab that followed the declaration of national emergency.
For many people whose family owned land across the border for years, the fight is more personal than political. However, what the final outcome will be for them and others remains to be determined.