The U.S.-Mexico border at Tijuana
The U.S.-Mexico border at Tijuana
Ted Soqui

City Hall Seeks to Expose Trump's Border Wall Builders

Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo is expected to propose an ordinance today that would require city contractors to reveal if they've applied to help build President Trump's $20 billion–plus border wall.

Supporters of the ordinance — details were scheduled to be revealed today — say contractors that have bid on portions of the wall have been secretive because they fear a backlash. After all, the wall isn't that popular in Southern California, which generally voted for Hillary Clinton.

The proposal would require "companies seeking contracts with the city to publicly disclose if they are also submitting contracting bids to build President Trump’s controversial border wall," according to Cedillo's office. "This proposal, which is the first of its kind, would also impose strict penalties and fines on any company who fails to disclose this required information."

In the meantime, Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens has circulated legislation that would prevent the state from doing business with a company that works on the border wall, which Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said in a statement will be "a symbol of bigotry, divisiveness and waste that goes against California’s values."

It's not clear if Lara's proposal would pass legal muster. Cedillo's ordinance does not offer a City Hall ban on doing business with border-wall contractors. This could avoid legal challenges.

"This ordinance wouldn't prevent a company from working on the border wall and also getting a city contract," says James Elmendorf, deputy director at LAANE (Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy). "But it would allow the public to get that information. It's a smart and legally defensible proposal that allows for transparency in contracting."

"Nearly two out of three Angelenos are either immigrants or the children of immigrants, who are a vital part of the city’s economic engine. Immigrants contribute billions of dollars in income and make up a significant percentage of both the workforce and business community," according to Cedillo's office. "City residents deserve to know how public funding is spent, and whether or not they are supporting individuals or entities who are involved in the construction of a border wall that will significantly impact them and bring harm to their families and communities."

The ordinance may have a good chance of being passed by L.A.'s largely pro-immigrant City Council. It's also supported by the L.A. County Federation of Labor, CARECEN (the Central American Resource Center) and the Partnership for Working Families.

"We think the border wall sends an anti-immigrant message," says Elmendorf of LAANE, also a supporter of the proposal. "We think the City Council has generally been very concerned about ensuring that immigrants are seen as a respected and important part of our community."

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