In summary

In response to President Trump’s campaign to build a wall along more of the southern border, one California Democratic lawmaker is trying to throw up a barrier of his own: a bill that would require state voter approval of any federally funded project worth more than a billion dollars, and prohibit the state from contracting with any company that also provides goods or services to the federal government in its efforts to construct a new wall.

In response to President Trump’s campaign to build a wall along more of the southern border, one California Democratic lawmaker is trying to throw up a barrier of his own: a bill that would require state voter approval of any federally funded project worth more than a billion dollars.

SB 30 is one of several bills Los Angeles Democrat Sen. Ricardo Lara has introduced to counter Trump on immigration enforcement. If the bill clears the Legislature and the governor signs it, it also would prohibit the state from contracting with any company that also provides goods or services to the federal government in its efforts to construct a new wall.

The state shares 130 miles of border with Mexico and exports billions of dollars worth of goods south.  There is already a wall along a stretch of the border between the two countries, and in some places there is a double barrier erected of cement, wire fencing and barbed wire. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also uses an array of technology, including ground sensors and drones, to man the border region.

Lara argues that the proposed wall would do “economic, social and environmental harm to the state.” Proponents note that a wall could impact up to 111 endangered species along the length of the border—including Bighorn sheep, bears and the bald eagle. Regardless, it’s not clear whether the state bill, if enacted, would survive a potential federal court challenge.

In Washington D.C., Trump continues to push for the wall, and memos signed by Homeland Security Secretary  John Kelly include provisions for Customs and Border Protection to begin its design and construction.

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Elizabeth Aguilera

Elizabeth Aguilera is an award-winning multimedia journalist who covers health and social services for CalMatters. She joined CalMatters in 2016 from Southern California Public Radio/KPCC 89.3 where she...