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Shoving, threats between reps on House floor during protests at Capitol

12 June 2017

Representative Cesar Blanco (D-El Paso) told Goudeau the disagreement began when Representative Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) told a group of Hispanic representatives that he had called Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, on the protesters.

Monday was the last day of the Texas legislative session that began in January. For his part, Rinaldi told the Tribune that some of the protestors held signs reading "I'm illegal and I'm here to stay", and that he called ICE "to incentivize them to leave the House".

As the Texas Observer noted, the latest House dispute was the latest in several controversial moments around the Senate Bill 4, which is supposed to go into effect from September.

Hundreds of protesters removed from the public gallery of the Texas House after their demonstration opposing a tough new immigration law are continuing to chant and cheer in the rotunda of the state Capitol.

"Lastly, even if ICE did receive a call, the protest would have likely been off-limits - covered by the "sensitive location" policy, preventing ICE from making arrests/questioning individuals at the protest", ABC said.

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Gallardo said immigrants can help "dismantle" the Texas law, like civil rights groups' legal challenges did to Arizona's.

Nevarez tweeted the following in response to Rinaldi's account of the altercation: "He's a liar and hateful man".

Abbott says he's pleased that the Republican-controlled Legislature approved his priority legislation, including an anti-"sanctuary cities" measure compelling local police to enforce federal law.

In a statement released after the incident, Rinaldi alleged Rep. Poncho Nevárez "threatened" his life while Rep. Romero "physically assaulted" him after he told them and other Democratic lawmakers that he'd called ICE on protesters.

Republican Matt Rinaldi accused a Hispanic Democrat of "threatening his life" and said another Democrat had assaulted him.

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In the midst of the scuffle, which was recorded on video by several bystanders, Democratic Rep. Justin Rodriguez says he heard Rinaldi say something rather different to his colleague: "I'll put a bullet in his head".

In a news conference following the dust-up Democrats alleged that Rinaldi threatened to shoot Democrat Poncho Nevarez. "That kind of threatening language, he needs to be called out and held accountable for".

When he told several Democrats what he'd done, all hell broke loose on the floor, according to Rinaldi.

Democrats meanwhile said Mr Rinaldi had shouted expletives at them and said his call to ICE showed how the new law could be abused. It would also allow for local officers to be penalized if they intentionally push back against federal requests to detain suspected illegal immigrants.

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Shoving, threats between reps on House floor during protests at Capitol