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.
“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.