A state legislator in Texas called Immigration and Customs Enforcement to disperse a crowd protesting a law requiring cities and counties to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
"We didn't know what to do," Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, told The Texas Tribune. "A lot of people had signs that said 'We are illegal and here to stay.'"
Rinaldi then called ICE "to incentivize them to leave the House."
The lawmaker then allegedly approached several Hispanic legislators "and said, 'I'm glad I just called ICE to have all of these people deported," according to Rep. Cesar Blanco, D-El Paso.
"He said, 'I called ICE — f– them,'" Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth, added.
Rinaldi also yelled "F– you," to other Democratic legislators, to the "point where spit was hitting" them in the face.
Rinaldi told the Tribune he "took issue" with House Democrats for "bragging about how great it was, and they were inciting them to break the House rules and break Texas law."
He added they "jawed back and forth and one of them physically assaulted me and another threatened my life, actually."
"Matt Rinaldi gave the perfect example of why there's a problem with SB 4," Romero continued. "Matt Rinaldi looked into the gallery and saw Hispanic people and automatically assumed they were undocumented. He racial profiled every single person that was in the gallery today. He created the scenario that so many of us fear."
Romero later told The Austin American-Statesman the protest was "an exercise of your first amendment rights, your freedom of speech," and Rinaldi "feels the way to deal with that, instead of letting troopers do what they did, which is exactly what they're supposed to do, he felt like he needed to call ICE."
Texas Department of Public Safety officers were having protestors removed from the galleries when Rinaldi contacted ICE.
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