Published: Mon, June 05, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Texas state lawmaker says he received racist calls after House floor scuffle


The reactionary bill, which up until this month had been unsuccessfully pushed in each legislative session since 2011, bans sanctuary cities, allows police to question anyone they detain about their immigration status, and compels local officials to comply with federal requests to detain individuals in state and local law enforcement facilities.

Today, Representative Poncho Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called ICE on several illegal... "They have been very quick to respond", said State Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth. "I made it clear that if [Nevarez] attempted to, in his words, 'get me, ' I would shoot him in self defense".

Rinaldi did not return calls or emails for comment.

"What's unbelievable now, in the Trump era, some folks feel emboldened to say these racist remarks toward these members", Texas Democratic Party Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia said.

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Fort Worth Democratic Rep. Ramon Romero Jr. said that Rinaldi "gave the flawless example of why there's a problem with SB 4", which has been signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, made a decision to call upon U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement to halt the lawful demonstrations against Senate Bill 4.

"We didn't know what to do ..." "Our first reaction was to say, 'You've got to be kidding me'". "It is rumored that many other Republicans called ICE and they don't know if those folks are US citizens or not, they were just brown".

In a subsequent Facebook statement, Rinaldi admitted saying he'd called federal authorities and threatened to shoot Nevarez - but said his life was in danger, not the other way around.

Texas lawmakers almost got into a fistfight today, with one Republican warning a Democrat that he would shoot him in self defense if necessary. "God bless him", Nevárez‏ said.

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In one message, whose audio Blanco posted to Twitter, the caller said, "Yeah, I stand with Matt Rinaldi, and f-- the illegal [aliens]", before using a derogatory slur to refer to those of Hispanic descent.

The dispute came as Rep. Blanco and Rep. Romero were proudly discussing the hundreds of protesters who filled the gallery with banners and chants and were ultimately kicked out, Romero said. It is set to go into effect on September 1. Although police forcefully removed about a dozen protesters, none were arrested, according to organizers.

The House of Representatives stopped their session as DPS troopers worked to clear the gallery of protesters and blocked the doors to the gallery.

Astrid Dominguez, immigration policy strategist of the ACLU of Texas, said Rinaldi should apologize for his hateful rhetoric about peaceful protestors exercising their constitutional rights. The Texas Tribune reports that opponents to the bill fear it will lead to an increase in racial profiling.

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