California Lawmakers Warn Contractors Against Building Border Wall

March 21, 2017

The Mercury News reports three California Democrats have a warning for contractors who sign up for President Donald Trump’s border-wall construction project between the U.S. and Mexico: Build it, and we will divest from your company.

California state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would force the state to drop its pension investments in any companies involved in the project. Assembly Bill 946 -- the Resist the Wall Act -- was co-authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, and Assemblymen Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella.

"The state's contracting and investment practices should reflect the values of our state,'' said Gonzalez Fletcher. "It's clear the people of California don't want to invest in the hateful values that the Trump wall represents.''

“This is a wall of shame and we don’t want any part of it,” Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said in a statement. “Immigrant stories are the history of America and this is a nightmare. Asian Americans know the pains of being blocked from immigrating to the United States.  We endured that indignity under an act of Congress for decades.  We must stand together and fight this wall because it symbolizes weakness and hate to the world.”

Garcia said, "It is counterproductive to invest in projects that will not serve the best interest of all Californians.''

Assembly Bill 946 would require the California Public Employee Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System — the two largest public pension funds in the nation, with investments of $312 billion and $202 billion, respectively — identify and liquidate any holdings in companies working on the wall’s construction within a year.

The pension funds would also be required to report to the Legislature and the governor by Jan. 1, 2019, with a list of companies from which they have liquidated investments or plan to do so.

More than 640 companies, including nearly 100 from California, have expressed interest in building the wall but those firms may face opposition from local governments as well. Last week the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution recommending the city divest from any company involved in the project. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said, “As Mayor, it is my duty to ensure that Berkeley remains a safe place for all its residents. Our city is one that is known for breaking down walls, not building them. We will continue in that tradition regardless of what happens at the federal level.”

Some legislation being considered goes so far as to ban contractors who help build the wall from participating in government projects.