SAN YGNACIO, TEXAS - As Congress looks for ways to avoid a December government shutdown, President Trump continues to push for a deal that includes funding for the promised border wall.
One South Texas rancher proposes a more affordable idea that could bring Democrats to the table and protect his family and their legacy.
“[It’s a] beautiful country, we love it, it’s been in my family since 1750. We were here before the U.S. was here. A lot of sacrifices a lot of history behind it.”
Out of all the sacrifices, Mauricio Vidaurri’s family say they have made for this country over the last two centuries, giving up their land has not been one of them.
It's a property his ancestors have defended for many years from invaders and now smugglers.
“They wanted to set shop here for their illegal activities,” said Vidaurri as he showed the KENS 5 Border Team a broken window of one of his ranch houses.
The Vidaurri family owns about 1,300 acres of ranch land in Zapata County between the Texas-Mexico border and the main highway, a fast escape route.
The property is uniquely placed in this section of the border where 18th-century ruins still stand.
“[My father] passed it on to us so, it’s now up to us,” said Vidaurri. “And we would hate to be that generation that lost everything because of a wall.”
Vidaurri referred to the President’s proposed border wall that is in the works with 8 prototypes built in California last month by a select group of contractors.
The wall could cost over $20 billion. The president wishes to add the cost to the upcoming spending bill.
Also threatened by a wall: a private cemetery, where generations of Vidaurri rest, including Viudaurri’s father Roberto, a World War II veteran.
“People don’t know the whole story,” said Vidaurri about the negative effects of a border wall on border landowners.
Vidaurri argues a wall would also cut access to the river. A lifeline for ranchers along the border.
He said building a gate with an access code like other ranchers currently have in sections of the border that have a border fence, will only make them a target.
“Because now you’re going to giving me something that they want,” said Vidaurri, referring to smuggling organizations.
He said the most effective way is a virtual wall: more agents and more technology.
“We are American citizens and we feel like we have a say in this.”
Vidaurri fears his voice won’t be heard loud and soon enough to save his family’s legacy from government eminent domain.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will take the next 30 to 60 days to test and evaluate the effectiveness of the border wall prototypes before awarding contracts, which could happen in early 2018. As for Vidaurri, he extends an invitation to President Trump so show him there are other ways to protect this land.
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