STARR COUNTY, Texas (BorderReport.com) — In a remote area of Starr County, about halfway between the county seat of Rio Grande City and the city of Roma, is a small cluster of homes that back to the mighty Rio Grande.
It is in this cove of older houses where Nayda Alvarez this week captured surveillance video of at least four men carrying shovels on her next-door neighbor Yvette Gaytan’s property without permission. Alvarez said they were surveyors searching for where to build President Trump’s border wall.
In the video, captured around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, one man notices the camera and says, “Hello!” Another is told to “wave to the camera,” and a third man then starts to do what looks like a striptease act by wiggling his body in front of the camera while unbuttoning his shirt.
The entire 52 miles of Starr County’s border with Mexico is slated to be walled off, with construction expected to begin in October on federal lands where permission is not required from homeowners.
Land surveyors have been spotted all across the county on lands bordering the Rio Grande. But in order to enter private property, surveyors are supposed to get homeowners’ permission.
Gaytan told Border Patrol on Thursday that the men did not have her approval to enter her property. And she said they cut a hole in her wire fence and dug a hole on the property.
Alvarez on Thursday gave Border Report permission to embed the video. She and Gaytan both spoke with Border Report on camera to express how they felt “violated” by the trespassing.
“They were trespassing without any notification, without any attempt to get permission. They snuck in,” Gaytan said.
When confronted, “they tried to play it off that they did have a right of entry.” she said.
Alvarez said on the video one man is heard saying, “These people are going to cause trouble.”
“Well I want to cause trouble. … He had no right to be on private property,” said Alvarez, who along with Gaytan protested Aug. 11 at La Lomita Chapel in Mission during a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On Thursday, both women showed up at a news conference held by U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, (D-Texas), in the town of LaGrulla, about 30 minutes from their homes. Alvarez wore the same black “No Border Wall” T-shirt that she wore on Aug. 11.
“Luckily I caught it on video or this would not have gone noticed,” Alvarez said.
Gaytan told Border Report she has added more “No trespassing” signs, and is considering taking legal action against the surveyors.
“Action will be taken if they try to step on the property again without any permission,” Gaytan said.
Alvarez, 49, said she confronted the men on Tuesday.
“They had the nerve to tell me that I’m going to get a gate. What will that do? The federal government is going to spend $1 million to build a gate and they’re giving me pennies on the dollar for my property.”
When asked if she would sell her property she replied: “Who’s going to buy it if I have a wall behind it? … This is supposed to be their inheritance. It’s land that has been in our family for five generations.”
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.