Oakland Considers Boycotting Companies That Work on Trump’s Proposed Border Wall

A Border Patrol vehicle sits along the U.S.-Mexico border wall on January 25, 2017 in San Ysidro.

A Border Patrol vehicle sits along the U.S.-Mexico border wall on Jan. 25, 2017, in San Ysidro. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

Oakland may soon launch a boycott of any company involved in designing or building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Proposals for the Trump administration’s multibillion-dollar project are due this week, and more than 600 interested vendors already have signed up on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

Oakland City Councilman Abel Guillen is sponsoring the boycott resolution that unanimously passed out of committee Tuesday. He said the wall runs counter to the city’s values.

“Tax dollars should not be used to create barriers across our borders,” Guillen said.

He said the wall would interfere with commerce and separate families.

President Trump campaigned hard on the promise to build a border wall. He also promised Mexico would pay for it. Councilwoman Annie Campbell Washington noted during Tuesday’s hearing that “like a lot of other things — that was proven to be not true.” Mexico has said several times it will not foot the bill for a wall.

But the proposed barrier is not popular in the U.S. either. According to a February poll by Quinnipiac University, 60 percent of U.S. voters oppose the proposed project.

If the resolution passes the full City Council next week, companies would have to certify under penalty of perjury that they’re not involved with the wall’s construction.

Of the hundreds of companies currently signed up on the federal website, many are from California, including Shimmick Construction Co., an Oakland-based business that according to its website worked on the Berryessa BART extension in Santa Clara County and on the seismic retrofit of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Guillen said Oakland is the first city in the nation to move ahead with such a boycott, but that several cities, including San Diego and Fresno, have expressed interest in passing a similar measure.

He compares the proposed boycott to the sanctions used successfully to help bring down the apartheid government in South Africa. “We know that the power of the purse is effective and can make a difference,” Guillen said.

But he also calls the resolution a political message to those considering work on the wall — to “decide what side of history they want to be on.”

Under the resolution, narrow exceptions could be made if the city administrator demonstrates that alternatives would be cost prohibitive.

  • OutlawJoseyWales

    So yeah………………………….other communities will gladly reward them too.

    Look folks.. Pulling the bandage off the wound (that being the injury caused by liberalism inflicted on the country) is gonna sting a little as it tries to hang on in desperation. But it still has to be pulled off in order to fully heal.

  • Danny Francel

    Is there nothing patriotic in that craphole aka Oakland? I thought not.

  • Randall Turner

    She referred to a “border”. How dare she even use that word. I mean, mexico is just part of the U.S.A.. Oops, I made a mistake. Good liberals don’t believe in separate countries. We are just one big village.
    Except when we refer to our ethnicity, then we’re hyphenated.

  • larry martin

    I’ll bet there’s a barrier at the front of the County Court House and Federal Bldg, a wall to protect the Commission inside the bldg. There insight is amazingly nonexistent.
    I’d like a list of those cities to avoid.

  • Everett Conrad

    “The wall runs counter to the cities values.” That city has NO values so no problem there. It is “pro illegal” and does not give a rats ass about its citizens that live there. I bet there are a lot of other cities around there that would love to see a wall go up and would reward the companies that build it as opposed to boycotting them. Go ahead and boycott and see who really gets hurt…

  • AClearThought

    These antiAmerican dupes don’t even pretend there is a Constitution anymore…

  • Jonah Hirsh

    Ya cain’t fix stoopid.

  • Joan P Green

    That’s California for you. .always saying & doing anything against this country’s best interests ! Why don’t you just succeed from the Union and be done with it. We would be happy to de-fund any and all $$$’s to your state and let you wallow in as many immigrants as you can hold. I suggest we build a “wall” to cordon off California from the rest of the U.S. “Patriotic” citizens who want their country back !

  • ashleyroachclip1

    well the families are already separated by a border and as for commerce the wall will not block any main highways there will be be the normal border crossing check points so i dont see a problem with it

  • Ib4N8R

    they defile the South Africa boycott.

    These babaies have no clue what Freedom means and is worth.

    Hey, even the warriors are leaving!!! no wonder, losers.

    the wall will ‘interferere with commercre!” like drug smuggling.

    You can just keep oaklnad for yourself; nobody else wants it…

  • Charlie_Feather

    I, also, am opposed to the wall. As a more economic solution, I believe illegal immigrants should not be deported, but instead, be made slaves who can be rented out to businesses needing cheap labor. The rents collected will go towards funding ICE and CBP, as well as any administrative costs related to illegal immigration. A border wall, then, will most likely no longer be necessary.

    There are something like 11 million persons in the US illegally who can potentially provide slave labor, though, as a humane gesture, a grace period should be provided so they can self-deport.

  • Charlie_Feather

    The US should build the wall up to the California border, to allow illegal immigrants to cross over into California, making it California’s problem.

Author

Tara Siler

Tara reports and sometimes anchors for KQED news. She covers a range of issues from community-police relations to local politics. Tara started out in community radio in the Bay Area, where she was raised. She eventually moved to Washington DC where she covered Congress for eight years for Pacifica and Monitor Radio. Her stories have also been heard on NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition and The World.

Tara lives with her husband in Oakland-- where they raised their two sons. She enjoys spending time with her large family, gardening and hiking in the Oakland hills with her dog.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor