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San Francisco considers blacklisting construction companies that bid on border wall

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Wall between United States and Mexico was key promise for Trump campaign

A border fence in Tijuana, with white crosses nailed to it.
A border wall in Tijuana, Mexico, with memorial markers for those who died attempting to cross. A number of disconnected fences and barriers exist at various points on the border already.
© Tomas Castelazo, www.tomascastelazo.com / Wikimedia Commons

The federal government is now accepting design proposals for the Trump administration’s promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but San Francisco lawmakers say that any contractor who puts in a bid will be on the outs with the city.

District Three supervisor Aaron Peskin and District Nine supervisor Hillary Ronen will introduce new legislation at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting effectively blacklisting construction companies who offer their services on the border wall project.

“Simplest explanation, it would prohibit the city from contracting with any companies that bid on the wall in the future,” a Ronen spokesperson told Curbed SF.

“We are not going to spend billions of dollars and line the pockets of businesses that engage in work that goes against the values that we hold most dear,” Ronen told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The proposed border wall was a key campaign promise for Donald Trump. Five days into his term, Trump signed an executive order instructing his administration to:

Secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border, monitored and supported by adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration

No actual construction may begin until Congress approves a budget for the project, but the Customs and Border Protection office began soliciting design prototypes last week, specifying:

The wall design shall be physically imposing in height. The Government’s nominal concept is for a 30-foot high wall. Offerors should consider this height, but designs with heights of at least 18 feet may be acceptable. [...] The wall shall prevent digging or tunneling below it for a minimum of 6 feet below the lowest adjacent grade.

Fencing in Southern California.
Public Domain

Prototype specifications also include instructions that the north-facing side of the wall be “aesthetically pleasing.”

The border is nearly 2,000 miles long. Estimates about the cost of the project vary, but in February a leaked Department of Homeland Security report put the figure at $21.6 billion.

In January, a Hoover Institution poll found that 35 percent of Californians predict a border wall will help the state, while 45 percent think it will hurt. Twenty percent were uncertain.

No region-specific polling of the Bay Area is available, although the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward census area voted against Trump by the widest margin in the country in the November election.

Earlier this month, Berkeley was the first city in the U.S. to propose divesting from any company that plans on working to build the border wall.