AUSTIN, Texas (CBS4) – Hundreds of protesters lined the Texas state capitol Monday, voicing their opposition to Texas’ tough new anti-sanctuary cities law.
Demonstrators started by filling the gallery silently, then started cheering about 40 minutes into the proceedings. They started to blow whistles and chant “Here to stay!” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, SB4 has got to go.”
SB4 refers to a bill that Texas Governor Rick Abbott signed into law this month.
Under the law, Texas law enforcers must comply with federal requests to hold suspects for possible deportation, under threat of jail time and removal from office.
House leaders asked state troopers to clear the gallery. There were no reports of arrests.
A state representative from Fort Worth, Democrat Ramon Romero, said he was standing with a fellow Democrat when Republican Representative Matt Rinaldi said “This is BS. This is why I call ICE.”
Rinaldi and Democrat Cesar Blanco of El Paso started yelling, and the two were separated by other lawmakers.
A group of Democrats accused Rinaldi of threatening to “put a bullet in the head” of someone on the floor of the House during what nearly escalated to a fight on the floor.
Rinaldi left the floor without making comments, but posted later to his Facebook page.
Monday’s protest was organized by activists who canvassed for participants over Memorial Day weekend.