Berkeley Becomes First City To Divest From Border Wall Companies
Berkeley, California, has become the first U.S. city to yank investments and business dealings with any company aiming to work on PresidentÂ Donald Trumpâ€™s Mexican border wall.
The Berkeley City Council unanimously passed a resolutionÂ this week that divests the Bay Area city from any company that builds, designs, helps finance or does any other work to construct or maintain the $4.1 billion border wall planned by the president. Berkeley also will cease doing business with those companies.
â€œOur city is one that is known for breaking down walls, not building them,â€? Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said at the meeting when the resolution was passed, reported the East Bay Express. â€œWe will continue in that tradition regardless of what happens at the federal level.â€?
It wasnâ€™t immediately clear if Berkeley holds investments in companies that will build the wall. The city willÂ â€œexamine the existing companies it does business with and find ways to disengage from companies found to be participating in the construction of a wall,â€? a document accompanying the resolution says. â€œThe city must vet companies before entering into new contracts.â€?
â€œHatred and xenophobia have once more gained currency in our country,â€? the city said in a statement. â€œTherefore, it is our duty to uphold and promote values of inclusion [and] shared prosperity.â€?
Berkeleyâ€™s statement also notes that Trumpâ€™s border wall would cause â€œharm and stigmaâ€? to Latinos in California and would â€œwaste ...Â taxpayer money, hurt the environment, contribute to climate change, divide ancestral native lands, disrupt tribal communities, increase international tensions, and reinforce failed Cold War policies of isolationism and exclusion.â€?
Some two dozen Bay Area businesses â€” including construction companies and high-tech surveillance operations â€” responded to a pre-solicitation notice last month by the Department of Homeland Security expressing interest in work related to the wall.
Oakland and San Francisco are considering similar laws. Arreguin said he thinks nearby Richmond will pass a measure much like Berkeleyâ€™s. Similar legislation has also been discussed in the Illinois and New York legislatures.
Berkeley also is discussing whether to cut ties with Wells Fargo bank, which has helped finance construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/berkeley-border-wall-contractors_us_58cc7f57e4b0be71dcf50d7b