Illinois lawmaker says state's money shouldn't be used for Trump's border wall

An Illinois state representative plans to introduce a bill that would prohibit the state from having financial ties with companies that might build President-elect Trump’s proposed border wall.

Rep. Will Guzzardi, who represents Chicago’s heavily-Hispanic northwest side, said Tuesday that the proposed wall that was a cornerstone of Trump's presidential campaign sends the wrong message. He then described his plan, which proposes divesting Illinois' pension funds from any businesses involved with the wall. In 2007, Illinois passed an Iran divestment law.

“Walls aren’t terribly effective with keeping people out,” Guzzardi told the Chicago Tribune. “What walls are, walls are symbols. And Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall with our border is trying to send a message that the people on the other side of that wall are dangerous.”

He added: “That’s very scary. That’s very scary to the families in my neighborhood and frankly scary for everyone who lives in our community.”

Guzzardi said he has the support of many fellows Democrats in the statehouse and hopes for a vote on the bill when legislators return to the capitol in Springfield next week and before new lawmakers join the legislature in January.

“I think it’s really important to note Illinois rejected this agenda overwhelmingly on Election Day,” Guzzardi said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Not just in Chicago. Secretary Clinton won all over this state and counties, and I think it’s important to represent that Illinois values were made very clear and now is the time for us to stick up for those values.”

Critics of Guzzardi’s proposal argue that the legislature should focus on how to beef up the state’s investment returns, mentioning Illinois’ $130 billion unfunded pension liability. The first-term lawmaker, however, said that there are plenty of companies to invest in that will help Illinois’ bottom line.

A spokesman says House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Democrat, hasn't taken a position on Guzzardi's bill. Other legislative leaders had no immediate comment.

Guzzardi added that the proposal is his way of calling on Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to clarify his views on Trump. Rauner has avoided discussing the president-elect.

Rauner said he'll review the bill. He wouldn't directly address the wall, saying rhetoric during the campaign was appalling.

"The rhetoric needs to tone down and everybody has to take a deep breath in order to start to be positive together," Rauner said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.