LULAC Condemns Texas State Representative Matt Rinaldi for Making Threats, Calling ICE and Inciting Violence in the Texas Capitol

May 31, 2017

Austin, Texas – The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights organization, condemns Texas State Representative Matt Rinaldi for threatening his colleagues, calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE) on Latino protesters and inciting his followers to call Latino lawmakers with racist messages. Rinaldi instigated a shouting match on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives, telling Latino lawmakers that he had called ICE to “deport the protesters” of SB 4 who were in the House gallery. Many of the State Representatives in attendance took exception to the offensive taunt. Representative Rinaldi then allegedly threatened to “put a bullet” in the head of Representative Poncho Nevarez. Later some of Rinaldi’s followers called Latino lawmakers with racist statements and saying they “stand with” Rinaldi.

“Representative Rinaldi’s actions confirm that under SB4 our community will be racially profiled and subject to attack," said Cristina Garcia, Texas LULAC Deputy Director.

“The actions of Representative Rinaldi against his colleagues and SB 4 protesters is another outrageous example of the anti-immigrant race-based rhetoric being used by politicians today,” stated LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. “Even more troubling, legislation such as SB 4 turns such rhetoric into law enforcement policy. As a result of SB 4, local authorities in Texas will be able to stop individuals based solely on their color of skin and demand that they show proof of citizenship. The law will perpetuate and encourage the marginalization and stereotyping of minorities across Texas. The protesters who gathered yesterday were not only Latinos, but included citizens who wanted to show their disdain for SB4 and support of the Latino community. LULAC will continue to stand against such legislation and hateful rhetoric and for fair and equal treatment of all Americans.”

On May 8th, the LULAC filed the first lawsuit against SB 4. The complaint was filed on behalf of a small town near the border with Mexico called El Cenizo, which has had a “safe haven” ordinance since 1999 that prohibits city employees from asking about a person’s immigration status. The complaint was filed against the State of Texas and key government officials seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from the courts to stop the state from discriminating against individuals based solely on the color of their skin. The complaint maintains that SB 4 violates the U.S. Constitution.

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The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.

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