Wall Street's Border Wall: How 5 Firms Benefit Financially from Anti-Immigrant Policy

Date:
11/16/17
Author:
The Partnership for Working Families

This report looks at a set of players who are generally left out of Trump’s narrative about the border wall, but who have positioned themselves to be direct beneficiaries: the investors who could enjoy financial gain from its construction. An examination of Sterling Construction Company, the only publicly-traded company to receive a contract to build a border wall prototype, reveals that Trump-connected Wall Street investors from across the political spectrum stand to benefit financially from the wall. 

Executive Summary: 

Donald Trump has made his call for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border a signature feature of his campaign for the presidency and his first year in office. A symbol of the rising tide of xenophobia and nationalism, the wall may be popular with Trump’s base, but is wildly unpopular with the public at large.
This report looks at a set of players who are generally left out of Trump’s narrative about the wall, but who have positioned themselves to be direct beneficiaries: the investors who could enjoy financial gain from its construction.
An examination of Sterling Construction Company, the only publicly traded company to receive a contract to build a border wall prototype, reveals that Trump-connected Wall Street investors from across the political spectrum stand to benefit financially from the wall.
Investors in Sterling include far-right funder Robert Mercer and his firm Renaissance Technologies, as well as BlackRock and JP Morgan Chase, led by Democratic donors Larry Fink and Jamie Dimon, respectively. Sterling’s prototype contract appears to already be benefiting its shareholders by helping to drive up its share price to the highest levels in years.
These financial ties raise questions about whether there is a growing alignment between the financial elite and the far right, and whether such an alignment will strengthen right-wing forces. In addition to the wall, all of the top investors described in this report are also invested in one or both of the country’s top private prison companies, CoreCivic and Geo Group, which spend millions lobbying while benefiting from the expansion of immigration detention.
While Renaissance’s investment aligns with Mercer’s other political activities (Breitbart News, which he has backed, has been tied to white nationalists and has been a booster for both Trump generally and the wall specifically), JPMorgan’s investment contradicts Dimon’s stated political and moral positions on immigration.
This examination is particularly timely, as Trump has recently proposed that Congress tie the fate of young immigrants who have legal status through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to funding the border wall.
This deal would offer no relief to the millions of immigrants who are not eligible for DACA, including the families and communities of DACA recipients. In response, immigrant communities and their allies are pushing Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act that would restore DACA without additional funding for border militarization or increased immigration enforcement.