“President Trump’s quest to build as much of his border wall as possible before leaving office is newly angering landowners and authorities in the American southwest.
An Arizona rancher said construction crews recently detonated explosives that sent “car-sized boulders” tumbling onto his property. Municipal water officials in El Paso said they deployed dump trucks last week to block wall-builders from cutting off their only road to a vital canal along the Rio Grande. And landowners in Laredo, Tex., are urging elected officials to pressure the incoming Biden administration to make clear that their private property will be safe from construction crews eager to finish the job.
The feuds demonstrate the impact that Trump’s final push to expand his $15 billion border wall is having on a region that has been the focal point of his four-year term, even though President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to stop construction immediately upon taking office. Federal officials say Trump has built 415 miles of new barriers — and that they expect to reach 450 miles by the end of the year while working at breakneck pace — to deter drug traffickers, human smugglers and criminal organizations from attempting to enter the United States. But critics say the wall is a political boondoggle and that the administration is trampling landowners’ rights in the process of building it.”