South by Southwest Festivals and Austin Mayor Steve Adler have both responded to two Democratic U.S. senators’ suggestions that the festivals leave Austin to protest Texas’ new “sanctuary cities” law passed in the spring, KUT-FM reported Thursday.
The story explores the potential local economic impact of the law, which requires local law enforcement to honor federal immigration requests for detaining people due to their immigration status; it also allows police and other law enforcement officials to ask people they detain for other reasons about their immigration status.
A Wednesday story on the KUT website reported that Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, and Catherine Masto, D-Nevada, wrote an open letter to SXSW organizers to relocate the annual festival outside Texas until the law is repealed or overturned by the courts.
SXSW CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson swiftly issued a statement that, while the law is “diametrically opposed to the spirit of SXSW,” leaving the state is not a solution, adding that “Austin is our home and an integral part of who we are,” according to the radio station’s website.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler chimed in, calling the suggestion “ridiculous,” the report adds. The mayor later issued a statement evoking the Battle of the Alamo (“with apologies to Col. William B. Travis”), drawing a line (lines?) in the sand regarding both the immigration law and pressure on SXSW to leave the city in protest.
KUT also reported last week on a lawsuit filed last week by the city of Austin, San Antonio, the Workers Defense Project, and the Mexican Legal Defense and Education Fund; it alleges that the law is discriminatory and violates the First, Fourth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
• The Adler Letter [mayor’s city website]
• Sanctuary cities ban is now law in Texas [Curbed Austin]