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

30 May 2017

Additionally, the Texas Tribune reported, once the protesters turned vocal, several Democratic lawmakers began to clap in support.

Demonstrators march in the Texas Capitol on May 29, protesting the state's newly passed anti-sanctuary cities bill in Austin, Texas.

DPS started pulling banners from protestors inside the legislature and eventually removed them as they chanted "We are here to stay".

Texas State Representative Matt Rinaldi, a Republican, called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers on pro-immigrant protesters in the House gallery on Monday afternoon. He wouldn't confirm, and that's when the pro wrestling-style, pull-apart brawl broke out.

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State Rep. Ramon Romero described the incident in a statement on Twitter, saying that as he and other colleagues celebrated the voices being raised in protest, Rinaldi walked over to them and said "f*ck them, I called ICE".

"I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, 'get me, ' I would shoot him in self-defense", Rinaldi wrote in a Facebook post. Several of my colleagues heard the threats made and witnessed Ramon assaulting me. Miriam, a 34-year-old Mexican house cleaner who has spent the past 10 years in Austin, plans to move with her husband and two USA -citizen children to Oklahoma in September, when Texas' law goes into effect.

As the House was nearing adjournment, dozens of immigrant rights advocates who had gathered by the hundreds in the Capitol rotunda spilled into the gallery of the lower chamber.

Mayors throughout the Lone Star State were in opposition to the bill's passage, claiming it would weaken the relationship between law enforcement officials and the public, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton already filed suit against local jurisdictions that had been accused of not cooperating with federal immigration agents. Rinaldi said he replied that he would shoot the Democrat in self defense.

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Matt Rinaldi not only said he called ICE on protestors - he also allegedly threatened to put a bullet in his Democratic colleague's head. Democratic Rep. César J. Blanco said Rinaldi told them, "We are going to have them deported", according to the Times report.

"I'm really hoping that we don't, cause it will cost the state a whole lot of money and the only remaining issues are the lieutenant governor's pet issues that nobody really wants to deal with except the lieutenant governor", Gene Wu, D-Houston, said.

"Matt Rinaldi gave the flawless example of why there's a problem with SB 4", Representative Romero said. His phone call to ICE to detain Hispanic protesters and immigrants only highlights the institutional racism this body embraced this session by passing SB 4, the "Show Me Your Papers Bill".

This story originally published by The Texas Tribune.

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