PHOTOS: Hundreds Fill Capitol Rotunda To Protest 'Sanctuary Cities' Law

May 29, 2017

Hundreds of protesters in red T-shirts gathered at the Capitol on Monday to protest passage of Senate Bill 4, the "sanctuary cities" law. As they were chanting their opposition to the law, a state representative said he called federal immigration agents, leading to a scuffle between lawmakers.

Members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus said state Rep. Matt Rinaldi threatened to shoot another lawmaker. In a statement, Rinaldi said he had been threatened and that the remark was made in self-defense.

Department of Public Safety officials eventually broke up the protest and cleared the gallery.

Nine-year-old Wendy and immigrant rights activists chant inside the Capitol after she reads a letter to Texas lawmakers, shaming them for passing SB 4.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

SB 4, which was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this month, bans sanctuary cities and allows police to ask about a person's immigration status during a routine detention.

The law is scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1, but not before it passes legal hurdles. Last week, the county of El Paso sued, asking a federal court to declare it unconstitutional. Austin City Council has also voted to sue over the law.

The City of Austin also asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Ken Paxton, seeking to preemptively declare the law constitutional. 

Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT