New Mexico may be in the process of suing to take Guadalupe Peak back from Texas. The New Mexico Senate voted 33-0 to sue Texas for return of 603,485 acres of land three miles east of its current border to what it says should be the correct border on the 103rd meridian. New Mexico maintains the border was the result of an 1859 surveyor mistake. The bill now goes to the House.
Ironically, the tri-state marker (pictured above) of Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas is located very close (but not exactly) at the meridian and according to a post in our forum, courts ruled earlier against a New Mexico claim.
At stake is a portion of the West Texas Oil Fields in the Permian Basin as well as substantial water resources.
However, Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pena is encouraging New Mexico to also sue Texas for the return of the city of El Paso and all of El Paso County, which he says was ‘maliciously stolen’ from New Mexico because the southern of border was incorrectly placed in 1850 according to where the Rio Grande was (at the time Texas presented engineers to bolster its case while New Mexico offered sheepherders).
If the NM/Texas border were moved about 8 miles south it would take Guadalupe. Altheia Kallos in boundary point newsgroup notes though it is unlikely New Mexico would have any luck pushing its border south (the border is on the 32nd parallel) noting that messing with the border would result in El Paso being given to Mexico.
New Mexico’s own fiscal analysis of the bill casts doubt on the success of any proceeding noting that courts have ruled that if a border goes unchallenged for “a long course of years” then it becomes the defacto border. Texas agreed to let New Mexico enter the Union in 1912 provided the Land of Enchantment drop its claim to the 103rd meridian.
Lowell McManus in the Boundary Point newsgroup gives a good history of the John Clark’s surveys and notes that Congress has reiterated its support for those borders.
Meanwhile the Statesman reports Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson who earlier had offered to settle with matter in a duel with his New Mexico counterpart now suggests that both the Texas and New Mexico Senates should meet in the disputed area and settle the matter in a brawl (“Lord knows these boys and girls could use the exercise”).