Austin to deny future business with border wall contractors


City Council members announced their solidarity Thursday with Austin’s immigrant community by pledging not to conduct any city business with border wall contractors.

“In Austin we build bridges, not walls,” said Mayor Steve Adler.

The resolution passed 10-1, with Council Member Ellen Troxclair dissenting.

At a Thursday morning press conference before the council meeting, officials spoke to Austin’s welcoming history of immigrants and their value to Austin’s diverse culture and economy.

“If Texas were its own country, it would rank second, only behind the U.S., in total trade with Mexico, second as the biggest buyer of Mexican exports and second as the largest supplier of imports to Mexico,” said Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria. “But Texas and Mexico are so much more than business partners. We have a shared history. And more importantly, we have a shared future. That is why we in Austin are interested in building economic bridges, NOT expensive walls.”

Austin is one out of dozens of cities across the U.S. joining the coordinated boycott of border wall contractors in an effort to delay construction of President Donald Trump’s controversial border wall.

RELATED: Austin may join boycott of border wall contractors, as feds cry foul

The second-in-command at the U.S. Homeland Security Department, Elaine Duke said Wednesday “we shouldn’t be tolerating” cities that “blackball” companies for their border wall connections. And the Associated General Contractors of America trade group says such boycotts are violations of constitutional provisions that say federal laws supersede those enacted by states and local governments.

But Council Member Delia Garza said by taking this stand, Austin is “not supporting the current divisive efforts that encourage racism and discrimination that would isolate Austin from its cultural and economic partners.”

This resolution does not apply to contractors who may have worked on the existing border wall, only to future contractors that work to extend the wall.

“We don’t intend to go back in time,” Garza said.

Garza said this resolution will help the City sort through current city contractors to ensure Austin will only do business with “good community partners.”

“As stewards of our local tax dollars, we have a responsibility to spend them in ways that are consistent with the values of our community,” said Council Member Ann Kitchen. “To even remotely support such an expensive and ineffective project would be extremely wasteful at a time when our community has so many other funding needs like healthcare, education, infrastructure and transportation.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Some Ohio school districts arm staff, but don't tell public 
Some Ohio school districts arm staff, but don't tell public 

Several school districts in Ohio have armed staff and teachers in an effort to prevent school shootings, but some of those districts have not told parents, students and taxpayers about the firearms in their buildings. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said that if one of the victims, a football coach, in last week’s Florida school...
NC woman wins $1 million scratch-off jackpot
NC woman wins $1 million scratch-off jackpot

Winner, winner, before that chicken dinner. A North Carolina woman is $1 million richer after buying a scratch-off ticket while purchasing her meal, WRAL reported. Sayanna Bragg bought a dozen chicken wings and a soft drink at a Durham convenience store and decided to purchase a Million Dollar Fever scratch-off ticket.  When she got to her...
Georgia dad, daughter sing their way to more Girl Scout cookie sales
Georgia dad, daughter sing their way to more Girl Scout cookie sales

Who knew Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” would make good Girl Scout cookie-selling music? A father and daughter team from Georgia created a viral video in which they ride in the car while subbing out the song’s original lyrics to push Girl Scout cookies. The song is performed by Grammy-winning Georgia artist Childish Gambino...
Lawsuit accuses Taylor facility of forcing immigrant detainees to work for little or no pay
Lawsuit accuses Taylor facility of forcing immigrant detainees to work for little or no pay

A class action lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday argues that a company that manages immigrant detention centers — including the T. Don Hutto Center in Taylor — is violating the federal Trafficking Victims and Protection Act by forcing labor on those in the center. Martha Gonzalez — a Harris County resident who was formerly detained...
Abbott spares death row inmate’s life, heeding father’s plea
Abbott spares death row inmate’s life, heeding father’s plea

Gov. Greg Abbott agreed Thursday evening to spare the life of death row inmate Thomas Whitaker, announcing his decision less than an hour before the Houston-area man’s scheduled execution. Abbott said a number of factors distinguished Whitaker’s case from 30 other executions that had taken place under his watch as governor, including the...
More Stories