The proposed border wall between Mexico and the United States threatens to cut through a ranch that has belonged to the Cavazos family for 250 years.
A map of the “Border Infrastructure Project” shows a red line that cuts through the Cavazos family barn, through their rental house and through a field where they graze cattle, leaving the family with land on both sides and cutting them off from the Rio Grande river.
“They want to divide the property in half and cut us off from the river,” Fred Cavazos told The Washington Post. “Who wants to live on the other side of that wall? If this goes through, our property is useless.”
Cavazos, 69, has worked on the family land his entire life, a witness to border politics that have continued to transform the property and illegal immigration has increased in the Rio Grande Valley. His pasture is now a busy route for human trafficking, with as many as 30 migrants passing through on some days, according to the Washington Post.
The Cavazos’ 77-acre property is located near Madero, situated in far South Texas between McAllen and the Rio Grande, and where Cavazos and his cousin Rey Anzaldua, 73, have opposed the concept of a border wall since it was first proposed during the George W. Bush administration. Now, Cavazos is turning away government officials who come to ask for permission to access his land. They want him to sign a “Right of Entry” form so they can take soil samples, survey the flood plain and plot the path of the wall.
A pro-bono lawyer has explained the family’s options. They can sign the forms, grant access to their land and expect to sell some of it to the government at market price. Or they can refuse to sign, risking a lawsuit and possible eminent domain.
“What kind of choice are they giving us? We let them have access, or they take it,” Cavazos said. “Either way, we lose.”