Protesters from across the state came to the Texas Capitol Monday opposing a tough new immigration law that seeks to ban sanctuary cities in the state. They crowded into the Capitol and disrupted House proceedings to the point state troopers had to clear the public gallery.


During debate on the House floor the group dropped a sign reading “See you in court.”


Opponents call Texas’ anti-sanctuary cities law a “show me your papers” measure. Immigrants from Arizona and elsewhere also showed up urging grassroots resistance against the law, which is similar to a 2010 Arizona law that lets police inquire about a person’s immigration status even during routine interactions such as traffic stops.


Governor Abbott signed the measure into law earlier this month. Supporters say it’s about protecting Texans and enforcing the rule of law.


Even after police peacefully cleared the House gallery, tensions among lawmakers brewed. Several Democratic House members said Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, told a group of Hispanic lawmakers that he had called ICE on the protesters.


Rinaldi and Democrats then got in each other’s faces and had to be separated.


Rep. Rinaldi released the following statement:

“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.”


This is a developing story.


Watch Capital Tonight at 7pm for the latest on the SB4 protest and the final day of the 85th Legislative Session.


Posted by Karina Kling