A Texas legislator assisted in upholding federal immigration law. He was assaulted by one of his colleagues for it.
The debate was over SB 4, an anti-sanctuary city law that would require the state’s law enforcement agencies and officials to comply with federal immigration law, regardless of the politics of the particular locality.
Protesting the proposed law in the state capitol building the same day were several people holding signs that claimed they were, in fact, illegal aliens. When Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, informed his colleagues that he had called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on those claiming to have broken the law, things got hairy.
Initial coverage of the incident lasered in on Rinaldi’s comment that he would “put a bullet in the head” of his colleague, but the context provided later in the story illuminates the issue better.
After the incident, Rinaldi released a detailed account of the incident from his own perspective on social media. Rinaldi claims that his Democrat colleagues assaulted and threatened him, prompting the statement in self-defense.
A statement regarding today. pic.twitter.com/M0BcBXa43P
— Matt Rinaldi (@MattRinaldiTX) May 29, 2017
Rinaldi was then, in his own words, physically assaulted by Fort Worth Democrat Rep. Ramon Romero and threatened by Rep. Poncho Nevarez. Romero disputed the claims on social media.
And now-viral video of the incident at a local ABC affiliate shows a scene much more sympathetic to Rinaldi’s account than the rest:
Rinaldi has since sought protection from Texas state police for himself and his family.
But that Rinaldi’s actions were controversial to begin with speaks volumes on where our immigration debate currently is, even in deep-red Texas. The application of the law shouldn’t be controversial at all, even if we don’t like a law.
What else should people expect when they brag about breaking the law in public, other than for the law to be enforced? What else should public officials expect when they encourage people to do so?
When one considers that there were several people proudly confessing to a federal crime inside the state capitol and that the building was filled with people who had taken an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States” and those of Texas, one wonders why Rinaldi was apparently alone in alerting the proper authorities to the matter.