The Trump administration is more aggressively seizing land along the Southwestern border under eminent domain for the $21.6 billion wall to stop illegal immigration, according to news reports Friday.
The administration has filed 29 eminent domain lawsuits tied to border-wall construction as of last Friday, up from 11 in each of the past two years, according to federal court records cited by CNN.
All but four of this year's actions were filed in Texas.
Under eminent domain, the government can seize private land for public use, while providing compensation to the landowner.
"Unfortunately, the bottom line with this litigation is the government has a right to take the land," Paul Gaytan, an attorney and board member of the Friends of the Wildlife Corridor, told CNN.
The group sued after the Trump administration filed an eminent domain action in July over 72 acres it owns on the banks of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas.
The Wildlife Corridor has been working to create a refuge area along the Rio Grande for more than two decades.
"The only question is: What's fair compensation?" Gaytan asked. "What's the value of that land?
"How do you put a price on this native habitat and the purpose for which it was to be used?"
Construction began last month in the Rio Grande Valley on the first new barriers since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection expects to build about three miles of new wall over the next few months, agency officials have told CNN.
Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, has said the agency's goal is to build 450 miles of new wall by the end of next year.
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