A Monday protest against Senate Bill 4 at the Texas House led to the quick removal of the protesters and also caused a Republican legislator to tell two Democratic colleagues, “Fuck them, I called ICE,” according to the Texas Observer.
Representative Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, told Democratic Representatives Ramon Romero Jr. and Cesar Blanco on the House floor that the hundreds of protesters who were chanting in the gallery were a “disgrace,” Romero told the Observer.
“Fuck them, I called ICE,” Rinaldi said, according to Romero. The comments nearly sparked a fight among the three lawmakers before their colleagues broke it up, Romero said.
“He saw a bunch of people who look Latino, and he assumed they’re undocumented,” Romero told the Observer. “So how can he say SB 4 won’t lead to racial profiling?”
The Observer also posted a live Facebook video of the protest and said that “House rules prohibit any show of support or opposition from the gallery.” It was the House’s final day of the legislative session.
Right after the protest, members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) addressed Rinaldi’s remarks:
Live from MALC press conference https://t.co/OUSDsCUtKd
— Richard Whittaker (@YorkshireTX) May 29, 2017
The Texas Democratic Party’ executive director also issued a statement:
— Mary Tuma (@TumaTime) May 29, 2017
Protesters continued to demonstrate outside Texas’s state capitol.
— Eva-Marie Ayala (@EvaMarieAyala) May 29, 2017
The Observer is now reporting that Rinaldi also threatened to shoot one of his colleagues.
And immigrant rights advocacy group United We Dream live streamed the protest.
Later on Monday, Rinaldi claimed that it was him who was being threatened: