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No, an Arizona governor cannot complete the border wall without the Fed's permission

It's become a campaign promise, but a majority of the remaining border is on federal or Native American land.

ARIZONA, USA — A former president Trump rally cry has become a campaign promise. 

Multiple republican gubernatorial candidates have promised to finish the border wall on Arizona's southern border.

In a tweet, Kari Lake said, "Yes, we will finish the wall on State AND Federal land. And No, I will not be asking permission from the Feds. Is Joe Biden going to arrest a sitting Governor? Try me."

RELATED: Border agency authorized to clean up wall construction sites in Arizona


Can a governor finish the border wall without the federal government's permission? 


  •  US Customs and border patrol
  • Aaron Reichlin Melnick with the American Immigration Council



Completing the wall on Arizona's border would require building on federal and tribal land. The state does not have legal permission to build on that land without permission. 


“Where are they going to build it, and how could they build it?” Reichlin-Melnick said. 

First, we need to understand what Arizona's border is like right now. Most of Arizona's border already has some kind of barrier on it. 

“The remaining sections of the wall that could be built are almost universally on federal or tribal lands.” Reichlin-Melnick said.

For example, the Tohono O’Odham nation has around 60 miles of Arizona's un-walled border and opposes a wall. 

The federal government controls almost everything else, and a state cannot force either to hand over the land. 

"The state government cannot use the power of eminent domain to seize land and use it as it likes. It needs permission from the federal government to do that." Reichlin-Melnick said.

Building on private lands can be easier. Texas is constructing a wall on its southern border mainly building on private land. 

However, there are only around 18 miles of the un-walled border in Arizona is on private land.

 "The state of Arizona could theoretically build a border wall 50 miles away on state land, but why would they do that? Reichlin Melnick said.

RELATED: 'Take the mask and shove it': Kari Lake leads anti-mask rally at ASU. Here are 5 takeaways

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