As the Austin City Council considers joining dozens of other cities in refusing to do business with companies involved with border wall construction, the Department of Homeland Security’s second-in-command blasted the idea Wednesday morning, implying it is undemocratic.
Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke said the practice of “blackball(ing)”companies for their border wall connections is something “we shouldn’t be tolerating.”
“This is a democracy and a free country,” Duke said while speaking at the annual Border Security Expo in San Antonio.
On Thursday, the Austin City Council will take up a resolution to not hire any company that’s involved with the design, construction or maintenance of the controversial border barrier.
The resolution calls the Trump administration’s planned border wall expansion a “damaging symbol of fear and division” that will increase tensions with Mexico and tear apart families. The resolution has support from Mayor Steve Adler and sponsors Council members Delia Garza, Gregorio Casar, Sabino Renteria and Ann Kitchen.
Dozens of cities in border states, including Tucson, Ariz., and San Diego, Calif., have adopted similar measures.
Duke said that if it is funded, the border wall’s placement would depend on local topography and the needs of Border Patrol officials in the area.