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Congressional Research Service: President Can Build Border Wall Without National Emergency or Additional Action by Congress

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) says President Trump has the legal authority to build significant portions of a border wall without additional congressional authorization or declaring a national emergency.

That conclusion was reached in a report released by the nonpartisan federal agency on January 10. A Department of Defense official made a similar legal argument in testimonybefore the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Until the CRS report was released, most of the national discussion surrounding President Trump’s authority to build the wall on the southern border – which he promised in his successful 2016 presidential campaign – focused on only two legal options: (1) his current request for Congress to appropriate $5.7 billion in the current fiscal year to build the wall, or (2) the possibility that he could invoke his authority under the National Emergencies Act, enacted in 1976, to build the wall.

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