NYC Public Advocate Letitia James said Tuesday, March 7, 2017,...

NYC Public Advocate Letitia James said Tuesday, March 7, 2017, that she plans to introduce legislation to the city council barring firms building a wall at the Mexico border from doing business with the city. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Companies hired to work on President Donald Trump’s proposed southern border wall would be blocked from doing business with New York City under a pair of proposals unveiled Tuesday.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, speaking at a news conference in lower Manhattan, announced her plan to introduce legislation to the city council that would bar city agencies from contracting firms involved with the construction of a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border.

“Companies have a choice, help build the wall, a monument to racism and bigotry, or do business in New York City. We won’t allow you to do both,” James said while surrounded by immigration and civil rights activists. “The same cranes that President Trump uses for his wall cannot simply be turned around to build our schools.”

James, who also sits on the city’s public employee pension board, said she would also request the board look at the possibility of divesting from firms participating in the wall project.

“Any company partaking in the construction of the wall will be subject to massive protests, negative publicity, and possible litigation,” James said. “Due to this disruption, these companies are in jeopardy of losses from boycotts, making them extremely risky investments.”

More than 400 companies have responded to a pre-solicitation notice for the border project posted last month by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; 18 of those companies have previously worked on city projects totaling $830 million in contracts, according to a review by James’ office.

James acknowledged her plans may face resistance from business groups and possible lawsuits, but said she was prepared to defend the measures in court.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump, who campaigned heavily on the promise to build a “great” wall along the Mexican border, has said the barrier is needed to stem the flow of foreigners crossing into the country illegally.

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