Axios Austin

Picture of the Austin skyline.

Hi, it's Giving Tuesday.

  • Scroll down for some of the many nonprofits worthy of your generosity.

🌤️ Today's weather: Mostly sunny, with a high of 61.

⚖️ Situational awareness: The sentencing hearing in the Congregation Beth Israel arson case is scheduled for 9am tomorrow.

  • Franklin Barrett Sechriest, 20, pleaded guilty in April to arson and hate crime charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Today's newsletter is 806 words — a 3-minute read

1 big thing: Critics say immigration bill will lead to racial profiling

Migrants surrender to U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Oct. 11, 2023. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas Republicans have upped the ante in their effort to control the southern border, sending Gov. Greg Abbott a bill that gives local police authority over immigration enforcement.

Why it matters: Critics of the legislation say it is unconstitutional and will lead to racial profiling.

  • Legal experts argue it violates long-standing Supreme Court precedent and goes far beyond Arizona's divisive Senate Bill 1070, partially struck down by the high court.

Driving the news: Abbott made the issue a priority, calling lawmakers back for a fourth special session earlier this month to send a bill to his desk.

  • He's expected to sign Senate Bill 4 into law soon, although a spokesperson for the governor on Monday declined to comment on when he will do so.

Background: SB 4 would make it a state misdemeanor to illegally cross the Texas-Mexico border and permits a judge to order an undocumented person to return to Mexico.

  • The bill, which easily passed the Republican-led Senate and House over Democratic opposition, also requires law enforcement to collect "all available identifying information of the person," including fingerprints and photographs.

What they're saying: César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, an immigration law expert and professor at the Ohio State University College of Law, says Texas lawmakers are attempting to create two new state immigration laws — illegal entry and illegal re-entry — that already exist and are consistently enforced at the federal level.

  • "The federal constitution is really clear that when a state law conflicts with federal law, the federal government wins," García Hernández tells Axios.

The other side: Proponents of the bill say it will empower law enforcement and target those who have recently crossed the border illegally, rather than people who have been in the state legally for years.

What we're watching: Experts think the U.S. government will sue to stop the measure from taking effect.

  • Domingo Garcia, national president for the League of United Latin American Citizens, says the organization will also file a lawsuit as soon as Abbott signs the bill.

Racial profiling concerns

New jobs to check out

💼 See who's hiring around the city.

  1. Account Executive, Commercial Accounts at Airtable.
  2. Manager of Family & Community Programs at The Contemporary Austin.
  3. VP, Finance & Analytics at Favor.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

2. Luxury senior living moves into Austin

Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Aiming to win older empty nesters, Austin apartment developers are now including spas and libraries.

Why it matters: More senior communities look like modern luxury apartments, Axios' Sami Sparber reports.

Driving the news: America is going gray. Baby boomers and their kids make up a growing share of the country's population, according to Census Bureau data.

  • In greater Austin, the share of renter households that are 55 or older has hopped from 11.1% in 2005 to 17.6% last year.

What's happening: Apartment developers are courting empty nesters as young as 55 years old, dangling prime locations, easy living and amenities you'd expect at a five-star hotel, senior living expert James Hill with Houston-based Kirksey Architecture tells Axios.

Zoom in: In June, the Westminster, long home to former state senators and retired University of Texas professors, opened its third building, the Carlisle, replete with a day spa and restaurant.

Meanwhile: Suburban subdivisions like Tuscan Village, in Horseshoe Bay, continue to advertise access to golf courses and swimming pools.

Yes, but: Many senior citizens can't afford plush prices, says senior economist Lu Chen at Moody's Analytics, whose research shows rents for more traditional senior housing are climbing across the U.S.

Reality check: Steep housing costs especially burden Americans on fixed incomes, contributing to rising homelessness among baby boomers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Zoom out: Walkability remains the biggest selling point for both old and young renters who have more luxury options to choose from, Hill says.

Dig deeper

3. 🤠 The Roundup: Wrangling the news

Gov. Greg Abbott and a World II veteran share a handshake.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Al Blaschke greet each other on Monday at Skydive Spaceland in San Marcos. Photo: Courtesy of the Office of the Governor

🛻 Tesla will host an event Thursday at its southeast Austin factory to mark the release of the Cybertruck. (Fox 7)

🚁 Gov. Greg Abbott went skydiving with Al Blaschke, a 106-year-old World War II veteran, in the San Marcos area Monday. (Austin American-Statesman)

🥢 Austin Chinese restaurant Old Thousand on Burnet is closing. (Eater Austin)

4. Where to give this holiday season

Illustration of holiday string lights in the shape of a heart.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

There's no shortage of charities to support in Central Texas — from those providing music education to kids to organizations that aim to rescue wildlife.

Driving the news: It's Giving Tuesday.

This holiday season, we're highlighting some organizations that are dedicated to helping the less fortunate among us.

  • SAFE Alliance: Stopping domestic and child abuse.
  • Settlement Home: Providing residential services to promote healing for children and young adults who have experienced trauma.
  • Seedling: A lunchtime mentorship program that pairs adults with children who have at least one incarcerated parent.
  • Casa Marianella: Providing shelter and support to immigrants.

💭 Thought bubble: Beyond an act of kindness, giving is an investment in this community we all love.

Read about other worthy Austin nonprofits

Thanks to Chloe Gonzales for editing and Kate Sommers-Dawes and Keely Bastow for copy editing this newsletter.

🤓 Asher is reading this Axios rundown of how to properly write holiday cards.

🤔 Nicole is figuring out her annual updates for the Cobler family holiday card.