"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 told reporters after the incident.
The resistance in Texas is coming too late for a small portion of foreign-born residents who have begun evacuating the state, fearing policies that could make their ordinary lives more hard. The law bans sanctuary cities in the state of Texas, allows police to question the immigration status of those they detain (as opposed to only those under arrest), and penalizes law enforcement officials who do not fully assist federal immigration authorities with possible jail time.
Rinaldi contends that Nevarez told him he'd "get him" on his way to the vehicle.
Rinaldi said in a statement Monday afternoon that Nevarez had "threatened my life" on the House floor after he called ICE on several protesters holding signs saying that they were undocumented immigrants.
The fallout continues from a protest at the Texas State Capitol where even lawmakers were hurling threats.
After protesting outside the building, the demonstrators made their way inside the Texas House gallery and unfurled banners, their loud chants briefly drowning out proceedings at the final day of the legislative session, prompting state troopers to intervene and clear the room.
"In my years in the Texas House I have never seen the kind of disrespect, intolerance, incivility that we are seeing in the Texas Legislature", Giddings said. During the break, some Democratic lawmakers looked up to the protesters and clapped, Texas House Democrats told The Texas Tribune.
This did not go over well with some of his colleagues, including state Rep. Poncho Nevárez, a Democrat, who stood face-to-face with Rinaldi.
He added there is video of Rinaldi calling ICE, and invited members of the caucus to speak about what had happened following the protest against legislation on sanctuary cities.
Rinaldi however argued that Democrats had tried to incite a riot by encouraging protestors.
"No", Nevarez said flatly when he was asked if he threatened Republican Rep. Matt Rinaldi. He said Democrats were encouraging protesters to ignore police instructions and, "When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues".
"I kept my hands to my side, but yeah there was pushing and shoving", Rinaldi said.
However, Nevárez denied the account, tweeting that Rinaldi is a liar and "hateful".
He didn't say whether he'll drag lawmakers back to work to tackle another issue he's endorsed, a North Carolina-style "bathroom bill" targeting transgender people.