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CA lawmakers want to divest funds from companies involved in border wall construction

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Border Patrol agents patrol the Rio Grande River near the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Three California lawmakers — including Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco — have announced legislation that would require the state’s pension funds to divest from companies involved in constructing a border wall.

Assembly Bill 946, which comes after the U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a request for proposals Friday related to the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, would require the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) to liquidate within 12 months any investments in companies involved in the construction of the president’s wall.

CalPERs investments, valued at nearly $312 billion, and CalSTRS — valued at nearly $202 billion — represent the nation’s two biggest pension funds.

The bill would also require the two pension funds to report by Jan. 1, 2019 to the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown with a list of companies from which they have liquidated investments, or plan to do so.

“Californians build bridges not walls,” Ting said in a statement. “This is a wall of shame and we don’t want any part of it. Immigrant stories are the history of America and this is a nightmare.”

The president’s 2018 Budget Blueprint, released last week, includes $2.6 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to plan and build a border wall, according to state officials.

Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, and Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, also authored the bill.

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