Trump’s Wall and the Assault on Private Property

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The Washington Post‘s article on Donald Trump’s border wall does something unusual: it takes into account Trump’s planned assault on property owners along the Mexican border. Note:

“In Texas, almost all of the land along the border is privately owned. When former President George W. Bush tried to build border fencing starting in 2006 he faced stiff opposition from local ranchers and farmers, many of whom took the government to court on plans to use their land.

“In many areas along the Rio Grande the fencing is built well inside the United States, as far as a mile north of the Rio Grande, to ensure that the structure doesn’t interfere with the flow of the river or is built on solid ground…. [Emphasis added.]

“A popular golf course near the border in Brownsville was cut off from the rest of the city by border fencing and was forced to close in 2015.”

Trump’s wall will face the same facts, but Trump doesn’t regard this as an obstacle. Let’s remember that he has tried to use eminent domain for his own projects, and he praised the Kelo case, when the U.S Supreme Court said government’s may take private property to benefit private companies.

The article quotes Republican Rep. Will Hurd, “whose sprawling West Texas swing district encompasses more than 800 miles of the border. ‘Many areas in my district are perfect examples of where a wall is unnecessary and would negatively impact the environment, private property rights and economy.'” (Emphasis added.)

Trump is a nationalist — and therefore no friend of liberty.

See John Oliver’s deconstruction of Trump’s proposal.

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Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute, senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education, and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation. His latest book is America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited.


  1. Great points Sheldon! That additional fictional collective border laid around a legitimate private property border is direct thievery of private property usage. Hoppe, to his credit, said, “All action is individual action. Any talk of action by society is meaningless.”