Tension Over Immigration Laws Prompts Scuffle in Texas State Capitol
A scuffle broke out on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives on May 29. The confrontation was sparked by protests against legislation that could impose restrictions on undocumented immigrants in the state.
Hundreds of protesters gathered inside the Texas State Capitol in Austin in protest of SB4, legislation that could ban sanctuary cities in Texas and require local government and law enforcement to adhere to federal immigration laws.
Many of the protesters were members of local families who were likely to be affected by the Trump administration’s federal immigration policies, and <a href="http://kxan.com/2017/05/28/new-mexico-group-joins-austin-organizers-in-protest-against-sb4/" target="_blank">were joined</a> by at least 60 New Mexico activists from <a href="https://unitedwedream.org/" target="_blank">United We Dream</a>.
Legislators from both parties accused each other of causing the scuffle, according to the <a href="https://www.texastribune.org/2017/05/29/protesters-disrupt-house-proceedings-raise-opposition-sanctuary-cities/" target="_blank">Texas Tribune</a>, which was reportedly prompted by heated debate after Republican State Rep. Matt Rinaldi said he had called Immigration and customs enforcement to report the protesters.
Rinaldi, in a statement published to <a href="https://twitter.com/MattRinaldiTX/status/869269896365998080" target="_blank">social media</a>, accused Democratic Rep. Poncho Nevarez of assaulting him and threatening him. Nevarez told the Tribune that he “put his hands on” Rinaldi, but denied threatening him.
Video published by the House’s Chief of Staff shows the scuffle.