California Lawmakers Push State to Divest from Companies Building Border Wall
Assemblymembers Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), and Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) announced legislation requiring the state’s pension funds to divest from companies involved in the construction of the president’s wall along the United States-Mexico border. The announcement follows the request for proposals for border wall prototypes issued Friday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“Californians build bridges not walls. This is a wall of shame and we don’t want any part of it. Immigrant stories are the history of America and this is a nightmare,” said Ting. “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.”
“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.”
“It is counterproductive to invest in projects that will not serve the best interest of all Californians. It is the responsibility of the legislature to safeguard our values and create opportunities for economic growth, rather than to bar them,” stated Garcia. “We cannot build up our dreams if our resources are being used to build a wall.”
Assembly Bill (AB) 946 enacts the Resist the Wall Act. It requires the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) – the nation’s first and second largest pension funds – to liquidate within 12 months any investments in companies involved in the construction of the president’s wall. The bill also requires the two pension funds to report to the Legislature and the Governor by January 1, 2019 with a list of companies from which they have liquidated investments or plan to do so.
The president’s 2018 Budget Blueprint, released last week, includes $2.6 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to plan and build a physical border wall consistent with his January 25, 2017, Executive Order on immigration. A leaked internal Department of Homeland Security report found the wall will cost up to $21.6 billion and take over three years to build. The Pew Research Center found that 62 percent of Americans oppose the wall and 68 percent believe it will either not have much of an impact or lead to a minor reduction in immigration.
CalPERS investments are valued at nearly $312 billion. CalSTRS investments are valued at nearly $202 billion.