(Emily Larsen, Liberty Headlines) Democratic leaders at the local level, from New York to San Francisco, want to boycott and divest from companies that work with the Trump administration to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.
New York Assemblywoman Nily Rozic proposed a measure that would prohibit the state from granting contracts to companies involved with building the border wall, and would prevent the state from investing in those companies.
“Many of us have been thinking about different ways we could counter the actions coming out of Washington D.C.,” Rozic told The Associated Press. “This will be a decisive and effective way of showing where our values are at.”
A group of Democratic state legislators want similar measures in Rhode Island.
The Associated Press reported:
Rep. Aaron Regunberg, a Providence Democrat, says the bill he’s introducing is meant to send notice to President Donald Trump that the state rejects xenophobia and values its immigrant communities.
Two San Francisco Supervisors also want to prevent companies which do business with the city from participating “in any way” in constructing the wall.
Pulling contracts and investments to make a political statement is not a new tactic.
New York already has restrictions on companies that do business in Iran or boycott Israel, according to the Associated Press. And California banned nonessential state-funded travel to North Carolina in protest of its “bathroom bill.”
These political statements can have unintended consequences. The San Francisco Chronicle explained:
A 2005 [San Francisco] ban on sweatshop products, for example, became so burdensome for companies to comply with that they simply stopped bidding for city contracts. At one point the city was unable to keep up with police demand for bullet-resistant vests.
It’s not clear which companies would be subject to the divestment. In fact, the New York and Rhode Island proposals would have a state agency make a list of all the companies working on the wall as the first order of business.
Hundreds of miles of fences and barriers have already been built on the US-Mexico border over the last few decades. Stock prices of construction-material companies that might build the border wall and other infrastructure projects surged to record highs the day after November’s election. Israeli construction company Magal Security Systems Ltd also saw a stock price jump just before it exhibited its products to Homeland Security officials in January. Magal was a major contractor on Israel’s West Bank barrier.
The effect the proposals would have on the health of state investments and the price of state and local infrastructure contracts is also unclear.
“San Francisco works with all the major construction firms in America — in fact, we are putting the finishing touches on an over $2 billion trans-bay terminal involving hundreds of companies,” San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin told the San Francisco Chronicle. “And if other cities and states that spend billions on public works projects start adopting similar measures, then it sends a powerful message.”
Boycotting is one of many ways that state and local leaders are trying to leverage power to oppose Trump.
Connecticut lawmakers introduced a bill that would prevent any state funds from being used to enforce Trump’s Executive Order banning immigrants from certain countries.