As President Donald Trump moves forward with plans to build a wall along the southern border of the United States, the city of Berkeley, California has taken a stand against this divisive structure. Just this week, the Trump Administration released a budget outline that proposes cutting programs necessary for communities of color inside and outside of the United States, but it also heavily focuses on constructing the wall he insists will make the US safe. “The Budget would aggressively implement the President’s commitment to construct a physical wall along the southern border as directed by his January 25, 2017 Executive Order, and ensures robust funding for other important DHS missions,” the plan reads.
The budget needs Congress’ approval to become reality, but already, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that including the wall funding in a “must-pass appropriations bill” could lead to a government shutdown, according to Politico. In the meantime, Berkeley is doing its part to protest the wall. This week, the city unanimously backed a resolution recommending that Berkeley divest from any company that plays a role in the building of the wall, according to East Bay Times.
The resolution – which Councilman Ben Barlett and Mayor Jesse Arreguin sponsored – condemns the border wall. It also calls for a list of companies working on the wall, which the city can no longer work with – making it the first to pass such a measure.
“This enthusiastic response to the administration’s plans for a border wall demonstrates a dangerous normalization of President Trump’s agenda,” Barlett said, according to a press release. “Rather than denouncing the border wall ‘policy’ – which scapegoats immigrants and demonizes our Mexican neighbors – companies are lining up to do business as usual.”
The government officially began taking bids for the border wall on March 6, according to CityLab. Hundreds of companies – including some 100 based in California – expressed interest in building the wall.
“Societies are weakened through division,” Bartlett added. “History teaches us that policies of economic and social inclusion always result in greater prosperity. We need longer tables, not higher walls.”
Oakland may be next in line, as its city leaders are also proposing a boycott of companies that work on the border wall. On Tuesday, the City Council Finance Committee unanimously passed a resolution to divest from companies that design or construct the wall. But it won’t be official until there’s a full City Council vote, according to ABC 7.