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Border War Brewing?

By: Daniel Gertson
By: Daniel Gertson

New Mexico has a 146-year old bone to pick with the state of Texas.
Yesterday, the New Mexico state senate voted to pass Senate Bill 555 that calls for a suit to be brought against Texas for the return of thousands of acres of land.
Sen. Shannon Robinson (D-Albuquerque), the bill's sponsor, alleges that 603,485 acres of Panhandle and West Texas real estate rightfully belongs to his home state. The claim is based on the assumption that the border between the states is, on average, three miles west of where it should be.
According to Robinson, an 1859 survey established the border at the 103rd meridian. However, the actual border was set between 2.29 and 3.77 miles west of that line. In 1910 -- when New Mexico was applying for statehood -- the issue came up again, but Congress opted to stick with the established boundary.
That decision -- Robinson contends -- was unfair because he believes that Texas political influences threatened to sink New Mexico's statehood bid if the issue was not dropped.
In addition to the return of the land, the senator wants compensation for mineral, oil and gas royalties, property taxes and grazing privileges.
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says of the measure, "I say to the New Mexico Senate what proud Texians at Gonzales told Santa Ana in 1835: come and take it."


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