Fly on the Wall
April 16, 2021

President Biden halted construction of his predecessor's U.S.-Mexico border wall right after taking office, giving his administration time to study the contracts the Trump administration had signed and exploring ways to dispatch them. But the federal review was supposed to end March 20, and while border wall construction is still on ice, the legal cases to seize land for the wall are continuing, Politico reports. That's fueling concerns that wall construction could resume, despite Biden's pledge to stop the project.

The Justice Department still has about 140 eminent domain cases active along the Texas border, the Texas Civil Rights Project says. And at least 114 of those cases have progressed since Biden's 60-day study period ended on March 21, according to the group, which represents a handful of families fighting to keep their land, including the Cavazos family. Earlier this week, the U.S. government won the title to six acres of the Cavazos family's 77-acre ranch, Politico reports. The family said Biden broke his promise to end land seizures and they are asking the government to return the title to their land.

Customs and Border Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers "have suspended surveys, negotiations with landowners, and similar real estate acquisition activities, in accordance with the president's proclamation," a CBP spokesperson told Politico. But CBP and the White House referred questions about the eminent domain cases to the Justice Department, which said it has sought to delay the cases rather than end them, pending completion of Biden's review. The White House did not explain why the review has blown past its deadline.

"They can have all the excuses they want but it's real dicey to look at what they're doing right now," a person who consults with the White House on immigration policy and has grown frustrated tells Politico. "It's a lot of stuff Trump was doing." Peter Weber

October 23, 2017

All five living former U.S. presidents gathered in College Station, Texas, on Saturday evening to pay tribute to America's tradition of volunteerism and raise money for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. At one point, all five ex-presidents — Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — were on stage, and Carter spoke, then Clinton. While Clinton was talking about the enduring disaster in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the younger Bush leaned over to Obama, making him laugh.

You can watch the moment at the 3:35 mark:

Or you can wonder what was so dang funny in this silent clip of the moment Obama cracked up and Bush looked on mischievously:

This was the first time all five former presidents have been together since 2013. Peter Weber

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