Austin votes to bar contractors who work on Trump's US–Mexico border wall
- The Austin (Texas) City Council has approved a resolution that bars the city from doing business with contractors participating in the Trump administration's U.S.–Mexico border wall, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
- The measure will not apply to contractors that worked on existing border walls and barriers, only to those working on the expansion planned by President Donald Trump. City officials said the border wall construction the administration has in mind does not match Austin's culture of diversity.
- Some construction industry groups like the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) have called such contractor boycotts by Austin and other cities unconstitutional, and officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said cities shouldn't "blackball" contractors because they've done work on the border wall.
As soon as Trump and DHS began implementing the border wall plan, numerous city councils and other agencies responsible for procurement vowed to stop doing business with those who working or bid on the wall.
San Francisco officials were among the first to propose barring wall contractors from having business relationships with their city, followed by nearby Oakland and Berkeley. New York City and Tucson, Ariz. have also put similar measures in place.
In response, the AGC called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions in November to take legal action against local governments that try to penalize contractors bidding or performing work on the wall. The association also asked local authorities to safeguard contractors that do choose to work on the wall. The AGC has since requested that the federal government reimburse wall contractors for extra security costs and any vandalism-related expenses.
The Trump administration and its plans for a border wall have also drawn the ire of state-level officials, like those in California. DHS, which conducted its wall prototype phase near San Diego, is facing legal action because of the way it handled the environmental review process. Leading the lawsuit is California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, on behalf of the state and the California Coastal Commission. Becerra has alleged that DHS used an expired immigration law as the basis for making itself exempt from certain environmental laws in an effort to fast-track construction.
A more recent DHS declaration is also likely to draw criticism. The agency has waived a number of environmental and historic preservation laws so that it can start construction on a 20-mile portion of the border wall in New Mexico. DHS said it's important to expedite construction because of the project's location near a high-traffic border crossing.
- Austin American-Statesman Austin to deny future business with border wall contractors
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