California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) and Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) held a press conference Thursday to highlight the disastrous impact building another wall along the US-Mexico border will have on California’s economy, environment and people. The lawmakers spoke as the California Legislature prepares to debate two bills that oppose Trump’s border wall, which could cost American taxpayers billions of dollars.
“Trump’s ‘big, beautiful wall’ will be a multi-billion-dollar blight dragging down California’s economy, hurting our environment and dividing our communities,” said Sen. Lara. “With Senate Bill 30, we are asking companies to take taxpayers’ side against this wasteful wall that will do nothing to make our communities safer.”
“The border wall is a symbol of bigotry, divisiveness and waste that goes against California’s values. We are determined to resist the wall and halt its construction by using all the leverage we have with pension fund investments and state contracting,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said.
Sen. Lara is author of Senate Bill 30, the Fight for California Taxpayers Act, which will prevent the state of California from executing or renewing a contract with a company or individual that accepts a federal contract related to a wall project along California’s southern border.
Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher is joint author of Assembly Bill 946, the Resist the Wall Act, which will require the state’s pension funds to divest from companies involved in the construction of the president’s wall along the United States-Mexico border. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) are the other Assembly authors of AB 946.
The bills seek to use California’s bargaining power to urge companies to take the side of taxpayers who would be expected to pay for the wall. Despite Trump’s claims that Mexico would pay for the wall, his 2017 budget plan includes a $2 billion down payment for the wall, and the eventual cost could be more than $21 billion, according to Department of Homeland Security documents. That is approximately the same as the Marine Corps’ entire budget ($23.6 billion).
U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed on April 10 that the first prototype would be built in Otay Mesa, near one of two San Diego crossings in the busiest border in the Western hemisphere. Sen. Lara sent a letter this month to the California Chamber of Commerce saying that “the wall threatens commerce with our number-one trading partner and will have disastrous consequences for our economy, environment and binational ties.”
Senate Bill 30 will be heard by the Senate Committee on Governmental Organization on April 25. Assembly Bill 946 will be heard in the Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement & Social Security on May 3 .