Two U.S. senators are calling for SXSW to boycott Texas. They say the festival should say out of the state until the controversial immigration law, SB4, or the so-called sanctuary city law, is repealed.
On Tuesday U.S. senators penned a letter to SXSW CEO Roland Swenson.
Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada call SB4 one of the most extreme anti-immigrant and discriminatory state laws signed to date.
They urge Swenson to pull out of the state as those who attend the festival may be subject to constitutional violations if stopped by law enforcement.
"I think they were dead on,” said City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
Mayor Steve Adler is presently fighting the law. Last week the city sued the state.
"This was never about safety. It's a political issue and it is damaging and it is harmful to people,” he said.
While he appreciates the support he does not want SXSW to leave.
Roland Swenson doesn't plan on it. He issued the following response:
"We stand by the City of Austin in their challenge against SB4 and will continue to speak out against it, and all discriminatory legislation.
We agree with the Senators that the law stands diametrically opposed to the spirit of SXSW and respect their call to action. We understand why, in today's political climate, people are asking us to leave Texas.
For us this is not a solution. Austin is our home and an integral part of who we are. We will stay here and continue to make our event inclusive while fighting for the rights of all."
Governor Greg Abbott’s office also had something to say:
"The Senators from New Jersey and Nevada would serve their constituents far better by taking care of business in Washington D.C. rather than fear-mongering about a law that keeps dangerous criminals off the street and that a majority of Texans support." Ciara Matthews, Deputy Communications Director, Office of the Governor
Should the festival submit to the senators' requests the loss would be huge.
The economic impact of the 2016 festival totaled over $325 million.
"If you really want to support Austin and its fight against SB 4 and our fight against the Bathroom Bill is come here and support Austin while we're doing this,” said Adler.