Nevarez went on to explain that Rinaldi had promised to call immigration agents on protesters in the House gallery, which prompted the scuffle that involved several lawmakers. Texas governor Greg Abbott signed the measure into law earlier this month.
Some are abandoning Texas for more liberal states, where they feel safer - even if it means relinquishing lives they've spent years building.
"Rinaldi said he was angry because Democrats in the House were bragging about how great it was and they were inciting them to break the House rules and break Texas law". That's when the threats and scuffle ensued.
"Blanco told reporters that Rinaldi responded, "'The difference between me and them is that I love this country'".
At this point, Rinaldi says that Romero "physically assaulted" him, and that another Democratic lawmaker, Poncho Nevarez, threatened to "get" Rinaldi on his way to his auto. "Our first reaction was to say, 'You've got to be kidding me'". "Several Democrats encouraged the protesters to disobey law enforcement". It wasn't all that intense of a fight - it might be more accurate to call it a scuffle, or perhaps a skirmish - but legislators definitely got physical with each other on the state House floor, as evidenced by video of the confrontation.
"They don't know if any of these folks are United States citizens or not".
"I said we need to take this outside because it shouldn't get resolved in front of all these people", Nevarez said. They informed anxious immigrants about the rights they retain despite the law and urged grassroots resistance against it.
Rinaldi left the House floor and wasn't available for comment.
Protesters, meanwhile, reassembled inside the ground floor rotunda.
Rinaldi told State Rep. Alfonso "Poncho" Nevárez (D., Eagle Pass) and other colleagues that he had called ICE on the protestors, whom Rinaldi said were carrying signs reading, "I am illegal and here to stay". "It was basically just bullying".
"There was a subsequent exchange between my brother Poncho and Representative Rinaldi and there was a threat made from Rinaldi to put a bullet in one of my colleague's heads", Representative Justin Rodriguez said afterward.
"I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, 'get me, ' I would shoot him in self defense", the Texas Republican said, adding he is now under official protection.
GOP representative Matt Rinaldi claimed on Monday that he was assaulted after he told two Democratic reps that he'd called Immigration and Customs Enforcement on immigrant demonstrators who'd gathered to protest Texas's latest anti-sanctuary city bill.