"Fear motivated me to get involved", said Gallardo, a 26-year-old Mexican native who entered the U.S. illegally at age 12.
A phone message left at Rinaldi's office was not returned Tuesday but GOP colleagues rebuked accusations of racism.
Rep. Cesar Blanco, a Democrat from El Paso, said that as protesters began hanging banners from the gallery balcony, Rinaldi approached Blanco and a group of other Mexican-American legislators who were on the floor.
Fort Worth Democratic Rep. Ramon Romero Jr. said that Rinaldi "gave the flawless example of why there's a problem with SB 4", which has been signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. There were protests of that bill in the chamber; and then one lawmaker said he called immigration officials on the protesters.
"They don't know if any of these folks are United States citizens or not".
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"That's the kind of thing that I think we saw earlier today when a legislator from North Texas saw many brown people up in the stands in the gallery and made a decision to call ICE just because he saw a bunch of people that are a shade darker", Castro said.
Nevárez has only responded on Twitter, calling Rinaldi "a liar and a hateful man". Got no use for him. "God bless him", Nevárez said.
"We were just on the floor talking about the SB4 protests, and [state Rep.] Matt Rinaldi came up to us and made it a point to say, 'I called (ICE) on all of them".
Crowds of protesters filled all four levels of the rotunda chanting "Here to stay" and waving signs, including one that said, "See you in court!"
The law in question, which is set to take effect September 1st, aims to crack down on "sanctuary cities" in particular and undocumented immigrants in general. Although police forcefully removed about a dozen protesters, none were arrested, according to organizers.
After the Department of Public Safety cleared SB 4 protesters from the House gallery, the protesters gathered on the steps of the Capitol to continue their day of resistance.
While the Democrats have centered their opposition to Trump on unsubstantiated allegations of Russian hacking and demands for "tougher stance" against Putin, there is broad support in the working class for the defense of their immigrant class brothers and sisters, the defense of democratic rights and freedom of speech, and a defense of science and progress.