The federal government sued Monday to get on land owned by a Texas city whose mayor has been highly critical of a planned U.S.-Mexico border fence.
The lawsuit was filed by U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton against the city of Eagle Pass, Justice Department spokesman Andrew Ames said.
The city's mayor, Chad Foster, serves as chairman of the Texas Border Coalition. The coalition consists of several border mayors, business officials and residents, and has been fighting the Homeland Security Department's border fence construction plans.
Members say the agency has failed to sufficiently consider concerns about the effects on environment, residents' property and the binational way of life along the border and ignored local officials' suggestions for alternatives.
The lawsuit against Eagle Pass is the first of 102 lawsuits expected to be filed in the fight over a border fence.
Homeland Security had warned private landowners in Texas, California and New Mexico last month that it would sue if not given access to property. The agency has said it needs the access to find the best places to build the fence or to set up other border security.
Some have granted access, but several landowners ignored the warning. Some have threatened their own legal action.