'I'm Illegal And Here To Stay' - Protestors Flood Texas Capitol

Posted June 12, 2017

Some unfurled banners reading: "See you in court!" and "See you at the polls!"

Hundreds of people had gathered to express their opposition to the anti-immigrant measures, but photos online show a full Texas House gallery, with at least several dozen protesters filling multiple floors. The demonstration continued for about 20 minutes as officers led people out of the chamber peacefully in small groups.

The tensions flared at the end of the divisive session in Texas in which race was invoked in debates over immigration, voting rights, border security and policing.

At that point, Democratic state Rep. Cesar Blanco noted to Rinaldi that Italian Americans were also once immigrants, according to Romero. "That's why I called ICE".

Rinaldi and Blanco then started yelling at each other and had to be separated by other lawmakers in order to prevent a fight from breaking out. A scuffle almost ensued before other lawmakers separated the two.

"There was a threat made from Representative Rinaldi to put a bullet in one of my colleagues' heads", Rep. Justin Rodriguez said at a news conference held shortly after the scuffle.

A Democratic member of the Texas House said he did not threaten the life of a Republican colleague during a scuffle on the House floor Monday.

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

Abril Gallardo rode 15 hours in a van to urge fellow Hispanics living in the Texas capital of Austin to fight back against a new state law targeting "sanctuary cities", an immigration crackdown reminiscent of one her home state of Arizona enacted a few years ago.

At the other pole, the fact that a lawmaker could see it fit to personally call ICE officials to intimidate, disperse, and possibly deport protesters reflects the degree to which the Trump administration has emboldened right-wing anti-democratic elements. Some Republicans want to keep working to address a so-called "bathroom bill" and property taxes. Lawmakers are constitutionally barred from approving most legislation on the last day. The law requires counties and cities to comply with federal immigration authorities' requests that law enforcement agencies arrest and detain individuals that are suspected of being undocumented.

Now, Rinaldi's colleagues are pushing back and saying he threatened them.

Only the governor can call "special" legislatives sessions lasting 30 days apiece. "With this bill we are doing away with those that seek to promote lawlessness in Texas", Abbott said. Another was the "Sandra Bland Act", named for a black woman who died in a Texas jail in 2015 following a confrontational traffic stop with a white state trooper.