Austin, TX - Monday was supposed to be a celebration for the Texas legislature as the last day of the session. Instead, it erupted into chaos, as hundreds protested against the 'sanctuary cities law,' also known as SB4, Democrats supported the protesters, and a Republican representative was pushed and threatened.
According to The Texas Tribune, the protesters, who were dressed in red T-shirts, disrupted proceedings by chanting and holding up banners, all in opposition to SB4. Many had signs that said "we are illegal and here to stay."
Due to so many illegal immigrants being kind enough to gather and point themselves out, Republican State Representative Matt Rinaldi called ICE, which enraged Hispanic legislators. He said that after he called ICE, that he "was pushed, jostled and someone threatened to kill me. It was basically just bullying.”
He also said that Democrat Representative Poncho Neverez "threatened" his "life on the House floor", and that he is currently under Department of Public Safety protection.
Rep. Matt Rinaldi posted the following message on Facebook:
"Today, Representative Poncho Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called ICE on several illegal immigrants who held signs in the gallery which said “I am illegal and here to stay.”
Several Democrats encouraged the protestors to disobey law enforcement. When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues.
During that time Poncho told me that he would “get me on the way to my car.” He later approached me and reiterated that “I had to leave at some point, and he would get me.” I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, “get me,” I would shoot him in self defense.
I am currently under DPS protection. Several of my colleagues heard the threats made and witnessed Ramon assaulting me."
In an interview with The Texas Tribune, Representative Neverez admitted to putting his hands on Representative Rinaldi and telling him to take his 'argument' outside. He apparently didn't think the assault was serious, and said, "But was I going to shoot the guy? No."
Democrat legislators had a different version of events. They claim that Rinaldi got in "bragging about how great it was and they were inciting them to break the House rules and break Texas law.” He also said that he called ICE because "we didn't know what to do," and the protesters had signs that said they were illegal.
He said that he called law enforcement because they were "disruptive" and "breaking the law."
Left wing media outlets are outraged that Rep. Matt Rinaldi said that he would shoot Rep. Poncho Neverez, while the right is outraged over the assault on Rep. Rinaldi.
House Speaker Joe Straus said, "There’s no excuse for members making insensitive and disparaging remarks on the floor of the Texas House." The disruption from the protesters and the argument between House members led to a 20-minute break before the House could continue with its business.
The legislation has already been signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, and requires local cities and counties to cooperate fully with federal immigration agencies. SB4 also prohibits cities and any local entity from "adopting policies that ban their police officers from asking people they detain about their immigration status."
Adrian Reyna, an organizer with a group called United We Dream, said that the movement was "just getting started."
She said, "We have to show resistance the whole summer. We have identified key representatives that we will take out of office who voted for SB 4. People are outraged, people are tired of the Legislature walking all over people."