LOS ANGELES (CN) – Los Angeles city leaders on Tuesday began crafting an ordinance that would force contractors with the city to disclose if they are planning to bid for work on President Donald Trump’s proposed wall on the southern border.
The City Council unanimously passed a motion to begin drafting the ordinance, after Councilman Gil Cedillo introduced the motion at City Hall. It calls for city contractors to disclose under affidavit whether they have contracts to design or construct the wall, or provide other services.
The approval means the city attorney will draft and introduce an ordinance, Cedillo’s office said. It will then enter the committee process before returning to the City Council for approval.
Cedillo accused the Trump administration of scapegoating immigrants, and said a border wall would “divide us from our nearest and dearest neighbor, Mexico.”
“They are those that we rely on for the prosperity of this nation and we should do all that we can to build bridges to Mexico and to other nations of the world and let them know that America continues to be the beacon of hope for all immigrants because it is the one place that people can come to realize their greatest hopes and aspirations,” Cedillo said. “I ask you to join me in supporting this resolution as another important victory as we get through this dark era of the Donald Trump administration.”
The First District councilman’s May 12 motion calls the wall “an affront to American core values of opportunity, entrepreneurship, and sacrificing to make a better way for the next generation,” and says the city should know who it is doing business with. It asks that city contractors make clear to city officials whether they are planning to bid or have made bids to work on the border wall between Mexico and the United States.
“Given the potential harmful impacts of the proposed border wall, the city should fully understand the potential detrimental impacts of also utilizing companies, corporations, contractors, procurers, and suppliers that are soliciting work on the ill-conceived border wall project,” the motion states.
The motion directs the city attorney to create an ordinance with the Bureau of Contract Administration that would hit city contractors with penalties or fines if they do not disclose such information. In a statement, Cedillo’s office said it has not yet been decided whether “how having a contract with the border wall will impact a contractor’s chances of securing or keeping a contract with the city.”
California has been a fulcrum for the resistance of Trump’s policies. Officials in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland have proposed ordinances that would bar contractors from working on the proposed wall. California, a state with 40 million residents and where people with immigrant backgrounds make up the majority of the population, has also said that it would come down hard on contractors who are working on the wall.
But some have questioned the wisdom of blacklisting contractors.
Tim Murphy, a chief executive with the Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange and chairman the Federation of the California Builders Exchange, called the actions “absurd.”
“Local policymakers need not be concerned about which licensed construction company bid on lawful federal projects proposed by this or any other administration and should instead refocus their attention to the critical infrastructure issues facing our state and local communities,” Murphy wrote in an opinion piece for the Capitol Weekly.
Trump’s promise to build “a big, beautiful wall” was at the heart of his campaign, and the president came into office assuring the public that he would construct the wall and make Mexico pay for it.
This past week, The Washington Post published a transcript of a telephone conversation between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in which Trump tried to get the leader to stop stating publicly that his country would not pay for it.
“If you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that,” Trump said, according to the transcript.
Struggling to fulfill another campaign promise to repeal and replace his predecessor’s signature health care law, Trump last week appeared to backtrack on his promise to extend the wall 1,000 miles along the border. The border is roughly 1,900 miles long and includes 650 miles of fencing. So far there has been no congressional budget approval for the wall.
“You don’t need 2,000 miles of the wall because you have a lot of natural barriers,” Trump said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “You have mountains. You have some rivers that are violent and vicious. You have some areas that are so far away that you don’t really have people crossing. So you don’t need that.”
“You’ll need anywhere from 700 to 900 miles,” he added.
Trump has estimated that it would cost between $4 billion and $10 billion to build the wall, according to Politifact.
But in February, a leaked Department of Homeland Security report estimated that the proposed border wall would cost as much as $21.6 billion.