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New Mexico land commissioner tries to block Border Patrol access

Aubrey Dunn, New Mexico State Land Commissioner

Access has been blocked to border patrol agents east of the Santa Teresa Port of Entry by New Mexico state land commissioner, Aubrey Dunn.

Dunn says the federal government did not compensate the State of New Mexico when they built the border wall along a 1-mile section of the land in Dona Ana County.

Dunn attributes the 1898 Ferguson Act for conveying land to the Territory of New Mexico.

The land is held in trust solely for public schools, according to Dunn.

“Almost 3/4 of $1 billion that we generate off of state trust land go to the school children of New Mexico. That's why we need to be paid for,” said Dunn.

A 1-mile long, 60-foot-wide easement to use the land is priced at $12,200 for the next 35 years, according to Dunn.

In addition, the government installed electric lights in a section further west and the price tag to continue operations there is $9,600 said Dunn.

Once the funds are paid the land, Dunn says his office will welcome back the border security.

The Department of Homeland Security issues the following statement:

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is diligently evaluating the concerns outlined by the New Mexico Land Commissioner’s Office and will contact them directly to address their concerns. CBP values its relationship with the New Mexico state trust lands. An important part of CBP’s strategy to successfully secure the nation’s borders includes developing and leveraging partnerships and dialogue with state and local stakeholders to ensure that the unique operational needs of each region are effectively met.”
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