Berkeley, California, a controversial sanctuary city that made headlines for a number of violent protests recently, is now the first city in the U.S. to pass a law to divest from companies involved in any way with President Trump’s border wall.
In a unanimous vote by the Berkeley City Council, the city has decided it will not only divest from contractors who are involved with the actual construction of the wall, but also any company who offers assistance with financing, design, or any aspect of the project.
According to the East Bay Express, Mayor Jesse Arrequin said of Berkley, home of the Free Speech Movement: “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.”
The Berkeley City Council issued the following statement regarding its new law:
“The City of Berkeley recognizes the harm and stigma such action causes Latino people in California and throughout the nation. We recognize that immigration has been a part of our country’s history since its founding and do not believe in demonizing people of Mexican and Latin American descent. Furthermore, the construction of a border wall would waste an enormous amount of 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.”
One of the companies facing divestiture is Shimmick Construction company, which currently has contracts with the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART). BART recently introduced a “sanctuary in transit” policy to protect riders, tweeting the following in response to President Trump’s Mar. 16 budget proposal:
“The president’s change in policy would drastically shift funding downstream, and likely hit local users the hardest.”
BART says the proposed budget would eliminate 32 percent of funding for its extension to San Jose.
The East Bay Express published a list of companies who have offered assistance with the border wall. At this time, the City of Oakland, California, is also working to pass a law to divest from these companies.
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