Here’s a list of just a few of the things you “don’t mess with Texas” about: littering, football, chili, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and land ownership. As Full Frontal With Samantha Bee demonstrates, the Trump administration is learning just how perilous any debate on the latter matter is.
Full Frontal correspondent and field producer Mike Rubens recently moseyed on down to Texas to get a front-row seat to the “Texas shitshow” created by the ill-conceived construction of Trump’s border wall. According to interview subject and ACLU lawyer David Donatti, the majority of the borderlands are owned by private citizens, many of whom oppose having the wall built in their backyards. But their objections are being overridden by the “quick takes” approved by Congress, which allow the Trump administration to declare these properties “condemned,” build on them, and then at some point in the near or distant future offer the previous owners a “fair value” price for their homes. It’s like eminent domain, only with less room to dispute the claim, which is the rare case of this administration finding a more efficient way to do something (you know, aside from just not doing anything at all). Here’s an exclusive clip of the segment, daguerreotype graphics and all:
Taking into account the likelihood that Trump officials do not know what “fair” or “value” means, and virtually everything we know about Texas, you can probably guess how this is going. Landowners like Nayda Alvarez, whose borderland property has been in her family for generations, are pushing back in ways both cheeky and direct (no threats, just a promise to kick some ass). But fellow Texan Marianna Treviño-Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center, notes that the border wall construction violates all kinds of environmental regulations, not to mention the Native American Graves Protection And Repatriation Act.
In addition to disturbing memorials, ancestral familial homes, and butterfly sanctuaries, the border wall will also end up leaving a bunch of private citizens in a limbo between the actual border and the border wall. That’s because the wall can’t actually be built on the border. That will also effectively render the privately funded wall, which is already a testament to grifting in the Trump era, a meaningless sculpture sitting out in a kind of no-man’s land.
You can watch Rubens’ segment above before catching an all-new episode of Full Frontal With Samantha Bee tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET on TBS.