The border wall with Mexico, Donald Trump’s proposed monument to nativism and bigotry is, according to an October story from NBC News, at least 10 months away from “meaningful construction.” It currently has no funding from Congress nor from Mexico, contrary to reports from Trump’s fever dreams. This reality hasn’t dimmed the visions of dollar signs in the eyes of America’s largest corporations, which, according to a new report from Make the Road New York, the Center for Popular Democracy, New York Communities for Change, and the Partnership for Working Families, are behind a company making one of the wall prototypes and stand to benefit handsomely.
The report, “Wall Street’s Border Wall,” reveals that far-right billionaire Robert Mercer’s firm Renaissance Technologies, BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo are all invested in Sterling Construction, the largest US-based company building a prototype of the wall.
“It’s always been clear that Trump’s border wall had no real benefit or justification — and now it’s clear that it could serve to further enrich his wealthy friends,” said Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, in a statement announcing the report. A protest in New York City to hold the companies accountable is planned for Friday, November 17.
“Wall Street leaders across the political spectrum have positioned themselves to benefit financially from Trump’s wildly unpopular and expensive border wall,” the report notes.
The revelations come on the heels of fight to protect undocumented immigrants, particularly those known as Dreamers, who came to the United States as children. Under the Obama administration, they were protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allowed them to go to school and work. In September, Donald Trump announced he would phase out the program, giving only a month for current recipients to renew and 800,000 Americans uncertain as to whether they’d be able to live in the only country they’ve ever known. Compounding the situation, those who sent in their renewal applications well in advance of the October deadline were falsely labeled as late.
The report also exposes the hypocrisy of these institutions and their stances on immigration. Robert Mercer may be open about his connections to Steve Bannon and Breitbart News, but other companies “have set themselves up to benefit from these draconian provisions, even as some of these same companies’ CEOs have publicly claimed to support DACA and DREAMers.”
Many of these companies are also behind private immigrant detention centers, pointing to, as the report states, a “growing alignment between the financial elite and the white nationalist right.” JPMorgan donated $500,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee. JPMorgan and Wells Fargo are the two largest funders of private prisons in the country.
Now the coalition behind “Wall Street’s Border Wall” is taking their message to the streets. On Friday, November 17, the groups marched and rally in front of the headquarters of three of the companies behind the wall. They’ll start at BlackRock and continue on to Renaissance Technologies and JPMorgan.
They marched for people like Jonathan Cortés, a member of Make the Road New York who spent over two months at a private detention center in Arizona. “It’s so sad to me that the same companies that are financing private immigration detention centers, like the one where I was held in Arizona in terrible conditions, are also putting their money towards Trump’s racist wall project,” Cortés said. “It seems to me that these companies and their CEOs just don’t have a heart — and that, instead of caring about our communities, they prefer to benefit from an anti-immigrant agenda.”