Land Commissioner to auction off border property

New Mexico News

New Mexico’s State Land Commissioner is selling state trust land with the border wall on it.

Earlier this year, the commissioner notified the Border Patrol that they had illegally used the land for federal purposes.

They needed to buy the land or vacate. Now the land will go to the highest bidder in just a few months.

With a starting bid of $40,000, seven acres along the U.S.-Mexican border in Santa Teresa could be yours.

“We decided to just offer that mile of border wall, the fence and the road for sale,” said the New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands. 

Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has been at odds with the federal government over this land for months.

“My concern is to get it out of the state’s trust so that the state lands trust aren’t involved in it,” Dunn said. “The wall’s built on state land and someone needs to pay for it,” Dunn said.

Dunn offered to sell it to the feds for a fair price, but they offered just $9,000.

“It’s a government appraisal and it is, in my opinion, really very low,” Dunn said. 

Dunn will not be land commissioner for much longer, as he’s not running for re-election. 

KRQE News 13 reached out to those who are running to weigh in on the auction. Patrick Lyons is the only one who responded.  

“You need to try to work with the federal government. See what they want to do, because they have the right of imminent domain when it comes down to it,” Lyons said. 

The Republican says he doesn’t believe an auction is the way to go.

“Our whole job is to try and generate funds for education, not trying to worry about doing an auction like this on something that’s really controversial,” Lyons said.

Dunn is hopeful the feds will be willing to pay more for it, if not he’s ready to take the highest bid. 

“Whatever they do with it they can do with it,” Dunn said.

The auction will happen on Dec. 3 at the Doña Ana County Courthouse. Interested bidders will have to submit their applications by Nov. 28. 

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