Lawmakers scuffled on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives on Monday after a Dallas-area Republican told Democrats that he called Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on protesters in the House gallery.
“We were just on the floor talking about the SB4 protests, and [state Rep.] Matt Rinaldi came up to us and made it a point to say, ‘I called (ICE) on all of them,’ ” state Rep. Philip Cortez (D) said. “And this is completely unacceptable. We will not be intimidated. We will not be disrespected.”
The protesters were apparently chanting and waving signs against Senate Bill 4, the controversial Texas legislation that Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into law this month. It 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. The law was passed amid a national conversation about immigration enforcement priorities and promises from the Trump administration to aggressively pursue and deport undocumented immigrants.
Signing SB4 into law was seen as a big victory for Texas Republicans, who had tried unsuccessfully to pass a ban on sanctuary cities in each legislative session since 2011.