President Trump’s declaration of national emergency announced recently has specific legal consequences for landowners on the border. Under Eminent Domain law, the government can “take” private property for public use – but must provide landowners with just compensation. When the government takes private property without paying the affected landowner, the landowner can sue the government under a claim for Inverse Condemnation – demanding just compensation for the impact.
In the case of the border wall, the government’s taking will allow impacted landowners to respond via countersuit. Landowners may have a potential constitutional challenge for whether the taking is actually for a public purpose. Further, if the government “leaves out” certain property or fails to provide select landowners with just compensation, landowners can sue the government under Inverse Condemnation. These lawsuits could last several years. As a matter of example, border land that the government took via Eminent Domain under George W. Bush’s administration is still in litigation.
Potentially impacted landowners should speak with an Eminent Domain attorney about their rights immediately. At an early juncture, landowners have a good amount of leverage without accruing additional costs.
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