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Dunn questions impact of anti-wall legislation

SANTA FE — Former State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, a Libertarian, is questioning the practical impact of a legislative proposal that would prohibit New Mexico from providing state land for a border wall.

He said that of the 22 miles of state trust land along the border, 21 miles of the land is actually about 60 feet from the border. The other mile already has a barrier on it, he said.

On the other hand, the federal government might need rights to land exceeding 60 feet from the border in order to build the wall, according to an analysis prepared for legislators two years ago, when a similar proposal came up.

In any case, the legislation is at least partly symbolic.

The state Attorney General’s Office warned lawmakers in 2017 that the federal government may be able to use its “eminent domain” powers to take land from the state for a wall.

State Rep. Angelica Rubio, D-Las Cruces, said this week that a border wall would be expensive, interfere with wildlife and fail to accomplish the public safety goals envisioned by its supporters.

Her proposal is House Bill 287.

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