Trump Border Wall: Texans vow to fight eminent domain, historic chapel threatened

Donald Trump's border wall vs. the historic La Lomita church in Texas, which dates back to 1852.

Donald Trump is scheduled to visit the border Thursday in McAllen, a city of 143,000 on the river.

People who own land along the border between the U.S. and Mexico are readying legal challenges to the Trump administration's expected plan to use eminent domain to seize private property on which to build Trump's fabled Wall.

"You could give me a trillion dollars and I wouldn't take it," landowner Eloisa Cavazos, who owns property along the Rio Grande river, told the Associated Press.

"It's not about money."

The Associated Press reports tonight the Trump administration will face legal challenges from multiple landowners in Texas, and those problems aren't going to disappear if Trump follows through on his threats to declare a national emergency.

One of the biggest challenges Trump's gonna run into?

A Roman Catholic chapel built in the 19th century.

La Lomita, which means "Little Hill" in Spanish, is the name given to a low rise in the otherwise flat Rio Grande Valley of Texas and to the ranch surrounding it. The historic La Lomita chapel is situated there, and Catholic religious activity at the site dates back to 1852.


The government sued the local Roman Catholic diocese late last year to gain access for its surveyors at the site of La Lomita chapel, which opened in 1865 and was an important site for missionaries who traveled the Rio Grande Valley by horseback.

It remains an epicenter of the Rio Grande Valley's Catholic community, hosting weddings and funerals, as well as an annual Palm Sunday procession that draws 2,000 people.

The chapel is a short distance from the Rio Grande. It falls directly into the area where CBP wants to build its "enforcement zone."

The diocese said it opposes a border wall because the barrier violates Catholic teachings and the church's responsibility to protect migrants, as well as the church's First Amendment right of religious freedom. A legal group from Georgetown University has joined the diocese in its lawsuit.

Father Roy Snipes leads prayers each Friday for his chapel to be spared. Wearing a cowboy hat with his white robe and metal cross, he's known locally as the "cowboy priest" and sometimes takes a boat on the Rio Grande to go from his home to the chapel.

"It would poison the water," Snipes said. "It would still be a sacred place, but it would be a sacred place that was desecrated."

Right on, Father Snipes.

Source for the photo of La Lomita in the 19th century at top:

Postcard view of rear of chapel at La Lomita Mission, 1910.
Source: Southwestern Oblate Historical Archives, Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, Texas.