Can Trump build a wall without Congress' approval?

Rudy Giuliani Donald Trump Mexico wall newday_00000000
Rudy Giuliani Donald Trump Mexico wall newday_00000000

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    Giuliani: Trump can build wall by executive order

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Giuliani: Trump can build wall by executive order 01:17

Story highlights

  • Trump could cite existing law enacted by Congress in both 2008 and 2010 to build the wall along the border
  • The hard part is overcoming the myriad of lawsuits that would almost certainly ensue

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump's advisers have suggested the incoming president could just build a wall along the border with Mexico without congressional approval.

Are they right?
    Well, Trump could cite existing law enacted by Congress in both 2008 and 2010 to build the wall along the border. But he would need to figure out a way to pay for it.
    If Mexico refuses to pay for it, then he'd have to turn to Congress to appropriate money -- something he could try to do through the Department of Homeland Security's annual funding bill. However, he would need to overcome a likely Democratic filibuster -- meaning he would need 60 votes in the Senate, requiring Democratic support.
    And even if got funding, that's the easy part. The hard part is overcoming the myriad of lawsuits that would almost certainly ensue. The wall have to pass a number of federal environmental reviews -- a process that usually takes years and gets tied up in courts.
    The wall would also have to be constructed through private property -- especially in Texas -- and those cases would have to be settled in court. Then there's Native American tribal land along the border. Either a deal would have to be cut with the tribes, or the wall would have to cut through a different section of Arizona instead to go around the sovereign land.
    So many hurdles exist.
    House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have also hedged on whether they'd support a wall, though both have said they support moving forward on border security.