Monday, March 24, 2008 6:06:22 AM
FYI Secure Border InitiativeU.S. Customs and Border Protection
March 21, 2008, 10:45PM
Government files evidence in border fence suit
Attorneys say affidavits demonstrate attempts to negotiate with landowner
By LYNN BREZOSKYSan Antonio Express-news
BROWNSVILLE — Just in time for a federal judge's deadline, the government on Fridayfiled what representatives said is proof that attempts were made to negotiate with alandowner to acquire land needed for the border fence.Affidavits signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Aiman and Hyla Head, chief of the realestate division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Worth, show contact attemptsdating back to the summer of 2007 that they say show the government did its part tonegotiate with University of Texas-Brownsville Professor Eloisa Tamez.Government attorneys said they would file additional documentation Monday.Tamez was among dozens of landowners the government sued after being denied access tosurvey for the border fence.She was the first to counter-sue, saying the government's use of the "declaration of taking"act meant the government was essentially seizing the land without first negotiating withlandowners.A December provision to the federal budget bill amended the 2006 Secure Fence Act torequire consultation with landowners and localities affected by the fence.U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled March 7 that the government had a right to enter theland for preliminary surveying.But he ordered that it provide proof it had negotiated for that access with Tamez.Aiman's affidavit describes an exchange of letters, e-mail and voicemail with Tamez attorneyPeter Schey beginning March 11 and continuing until Friday.Head's account starts with Border Patrol agents first telephoning Tamez in the summer of 2007.
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