Austin businesses, citizens, organizations stand with city in opposing SB 4

Susana Vivanco owns and Austin restaurant and filed an affidavit opposing Texas' Senate Bill 4. KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard.
Susana Vivanco owns and Austin restaurant and filed an affidavit opposing Texas' Senate Bill 4. KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard.

AUSTIN  (KXAN) — As the City of Austin prepares to head to court Monday to challenge the constitutionality of Texas’ new Senate Bill 4, the city’s case is supported by filings from citizens, businesses and organizations in the city who also oppose the law.

On Sunday KXAN spoke with Susana Vivanco, the owner of Lima Criolla Peruvian restaurant in Austin who has filed  an affidavit in that case opposing SB4. As an active member of the Hispanic community and the business community in Austin, Vivanco maintains that the immigration law will harm her business and the diversity of the Austin community as a whole.

“I don’t see any beneficial thing about this law, the Hispanic community is dense in Austin, and a lot of businesses have people from that community,” she explained. “I’ve heard a lot of conversations that they are planning to move if the law is on in Austin. Maybe they are planning to move to New Mexico, Nevada or other states that are welcoming to immigrants.”

Vivanco is a legal permanent resident who moved from Peru to better her son’s education and then to chase her own dream of owning a restaurant.

“I was one of the ones who followed that dream, too, and, thanks to God, I got it,” she said. “So why not the other [immigrants]? Why to make their lives so hard?”

Vivanco, who used to live in Arizona prior to the immigration laws in 2010 said that SB 4 scares her especially because she worries it will play out in the same fashion. She worries SB 4 will drive immigrants and business to other states

“I agree, of course, if it’s a criminal and they commit crimes here, I support the deportation of that kind of person,” Vivanco said. “But for people who just come to be good people in the United States, why not give them the opportunity to go through all the paths to become resident, and then citizen?”

Vivanco was not the only party to file an affidavit supporting the city’s case against SB 4, in a press conference last week Council Member Greg Casar cited multiple citizens and community organizations in his district who had also signed sworn statements as part of the case.  Casar explained that the People’s Community Clinic in Austin, which serves a primarily Hispanic population, said in their filing that during the ICE raids in Austin in February and during the escalation of the SB 4 debate, they saw a 50% increase of “no show” patients at their clinic.

Council Member Casar also cited the business concerns expressed in Vivanco’s affidavit last week.

“That economic damage [of SB 4] is so much greater than the tiny amount of resources and energy we would have to spend to stop [SB 4], and we would have to spend that so many times over,” Casar said at the press conference. “And so keeping people in in our community and keeping businesses and employees in our community would provide so much more of an economic benefit than harm.”

Mayor Steve Adler explained last week that South by Southwest and Austin Police Chief Brian Manley also filed statements in opposition to the law.

State lawmakers like Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) say that SB 4 will make Texas safer by making it easier to deport criminals and enforce federal immigration directives.

“SB 4 at its heart is about cooperation with our federal partners regarding immigration,” Senator Perry said. “And that’s the way the federal immigration system works, is they expect and need cooperation on local jurisdictions so at the heart of it, it’s about partnering with our federal agencies to do immigration.”

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday his department would stand by the state of Texas in court in defending SB 4.

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