Partisan rancor over the crackdown on illegal immigrants – initiated by President Trump and advanced by Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott – spilled over into an ugly confrontation in the Texas legislature that may well serve as a portent of things to come.
A scuffle broke out on the floor of the Texas Capitol Monday between state legislators after one of them called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate several protesters who held signs saying that they were illegal immigrants. Death threats ensued.
As reported by ABC news, on what was the last day of the legislative session, a huge crowd of protestors dressed in red shirts reading “Lucha” (fight in Spanish) and waving banners invaded the gallery of the Texas House to protest SB4. SB4, now a recently passed law, bans sanctuary cities in Texas, penalizes cities who disregard the law and authorizes law enforcement to ask the immigration status of anyone they stop. The protestors were so loud that they interrupted the business of the House, blowing whistles and chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, SB4 has got to go.” Several waved signs which read “I am illegal and here to stay.”
That’s when Republican Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, reached his limit and contacted ICE to deal with any protestors who happened to be illegal immigrants. He then announced to the floor, “This is BS. That’s why I called ICE.” His announcement drove several nearby Hispanic legislators into a rage. They went after Rinaldi, and a tussle ensued, with several Hispanic legislators and Rep. Rinaldi shouting at each other.
After the dust had cleared, it was a case of “he said, he said.”
Rep. Rinaldi claims that Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth physically assaulted him. He also stated that Rep. Poncho Nevarez, D-Eagle Pass, threatened his life, saying that “he would get me on the way to my car,” and that Rinaldi replied that, “I would shoot him in self-defense.”
Democratic legislators held a press conference where they made the usual claims of hatred, racism, and bigotry, stated they were upset at what they claimed was “disrespect,” and said that Rep. Rinaldi threatened to “put a bullet in the head” of Rep. Nevarez. As reported by the Washington Post, State Rep Phillip Cortez later said that Rinaldi’s actions were unacceptable, and that “We will not be intimidated. We will not be disrespected.” Rep. Romero said “…he has hate for those people, and he wants to see them gone. He wants them gone so much, to the point that he called ICE.” KXAN reported that Rep. Poncho Nevarez said “The guy made a comment, a very stupid comment, he’s a racist,” “We’re not going to allow people like that to get away with saying comments like that.”
Regardless of politics, color, religion, or national origin, when you accept the responsibility to serve as a State Representative in Texas, you take an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and this State, so help me God.” Rep. Rinaldi’s actions, while perhaps insensitive, were in line with his oath. Where is the professional ethics of the entire Hispanic Democratic Caucus in the Texas House? Why are they defending the rampant lawbreaking in their state by foreign nationals who have invaded our nation uninvited? How is it that they have the nerve to stand by and not only ignore these invaders who are shutting down the business of Texas, but also to assault and threaten a fellow legislator who reports people for breaking the law that they have all sworn to uphold?
It is theoretically possible that Rep. Rinaldi is a racist, but his actions Monday are no evidence of that. The facts that a significant number of Hispanic legislators went after Rinaldi for doing his job because the criminals that he reported were Hispanic, and that those Hispanic lawmakers viewed the reporting of illegal immigrants as “disrespect” to themselves are substantial evidence that the racists in the room were the Democrats, not Rinaldi.
Shame on you, Reps. Nevarez, Romero, Cortez, and any other government official who puts globalism or any “race” before the interests of your constituents and our nation. You have taken oaths to support and defend the constitutions, laws, and citizens of these United States before any other interest. In the end, it is you who will not get away with your treachery.