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Demonstrators gather at Texas' Capitol, to protest a recently-passed law prohibiting "sanctuary cities" in the state, in Austin, United States, May 29, 2017. EFE/Alex Segura
Demonstrators gather at Texas' Capitol, to protest a recently-passed law prohibiting "sanctuary cities" in the state, in Austin, United States, May 29, 2017. EFE/Alex Segura

Demonstrators gather at Texas Capitol to protest law prohibiting "sanctuary cities" in the state.

About 1,000 demonstrators arrived from Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Arizona, North Carolina, New Mexico, Maryland and Virginia and protested with other…

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A Texas Republican lawmaker called on US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to remove about 1,000 demonstrators who gathered on Monday at the state Capitol to protest a recently-passed law prohibiting "sanctuary cities" in the state.

State Rep. Matt Rinaldi told his Hispanic Democratic colleagues that he called ICE to detain the protesters who had gathered in Austin, a remark that sparked an exchange of insults and alleged pushing within the state House of Representatives, a Democratic legislator told reporters.

Rinaldi confirmed via the social networks that he called immigration authorities after seeing several people carrying signs bearing the message "I am an illegal immigrant and here to stay."

An ICE spokesperson told EFE that, in the end, no ICE personnel were dispatched to the scene.

However, agents with the Department of Public Safety were sent to the state Capitol to clear the House gallery, which has a capacity of more than 300 people.

About 1,000 demonstrators arrived from Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Arizona, North Carolina, New Mexico, Maryland and Virginia and protested with other Texas organizations to express their disagreement with SB4, which allows local authorities to question the immigration status of people who, for example, are detained or arrested for a traffic violation.

The law, to go into effect on Sept. 1, is very similar to one approved in Arizona in 2010 and popularly known as the "show me your papers" law.

About 100 people who have been affected by that Arizona law arrived on Monday in Austin to support the immigrant families residing in Texas.

Organizations such as Promesa Arizona, United We Dream, Proyecto de Defensa Laboral, Mi Familia Vota, the Texas Organizing Project, Pantsuit Republic and the American Civil Liberties Union, among others, gathered to protest against SB4, signed two weeks ago by Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

Meanwhile, Democratic state lawmaker Ramon Romero Jr. said in a statement that "The true intentions of SB4 came to light today ... (in) the Texas House of Representatives. ... Rep. Rinaldi felt the need to ... (call) ICE to deport the protestors in the gallery. Our reactions were honest ... (and) were of disgust. His use of profanity to emphasize his point that all he saw was a bunch of 'illegals' that deserve to be deported had the intention of anger."

Romero said that he felt "this was a personal attack on me as a son of Mexican immigrants. I voiced my feelings, as did Reps. (Cesar) Blanco and (Phil) Cortez, and Rep. Rinaldi replied by saying the people in the gallery did not love this country. Members of his own party came to pull him away, making his accusation of being assaulted completely baseless. Countless members witnessed 'the scuffle,' and they will all tell you no assault occurred."

Romero went on to say that Rinaldi "threatened another member of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus by telling Rep. Poncho Nevarez he would 'put a bullet' in his head. That direct threat merits a full investigation by the appropriate authorities."

 

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