As the deadline nears for bids and proposals to build the border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, at least one major hurdle for the government lingers: private property. However, there are some landowners willing to give up their land for the sake of security.
Down a dead-end road in Roma, Texas, Vietnam veteran and life-long rancher Ruperto Escobar welcomed KENS 5 to his family property passed down for seven generations.
“There’s history, there’s sentimental value, there’s all kinds of things involved with this piece of property here. We’ve been on it for more than 250 years,” Escobar said.
KENS 5 became interested in talking to Escobar when word got out that there was a South Texas man offering up his property for President Donald Trump’s border wall.
And apparently, he’s not alone.
Landowners along the border like Escobar usually keep to themselves, but he’s one of the many Trump supporters that are now speaking up.
“There’s bunches of Hispanics up and down this border that, even though this is a blue area, we don’t go along with the blue ideology when it comes to something like that, when it comes to securing our borders,” Escobar said.
Escobar showed KENS 5 his 75-acre ranch where the wall may one day be built. He says that it's land that's been abused by Mexican cartels and an area law enforcement considers a hotbed for drug and human smuggling.
“That’s the way it’s always been here,” he said. “Ever since that border became the place to cross contraband through.”
Here, there is no border fence, but a rather heavy presence of state and federal law enforcement accompanied by technology. It’s what many call the “virtual” wall, which Escobar favors. But if that doesn’t secure the border enough, Escobar is willing to help, with a few conditions:
“Just compensate me well for it. Give me access to the river," he said. "Don’t shut me off. Don’t come and treat me like this country did to Indians.”