Rep. Matt Rinaldi of Irving did more than become the latest poster child for intolerance when he claimed to have sicced immigration agents on people who were protesting the new “sanctuary cities” law at the Capitol during the closing hours of the legislative session.
By defending a discriminatory law, he also validated the protesters’ reasons for being there – to fight discrimination and racial profiling. Rinaldi said he called immigration authorities because some of the demonstrators held aloft signs saying they were “illegal.” That may or may not have been true, but most demonstrators were law-abiding citizens who just happened to be Hispanic, the same kind of people who, under the new law, may have to provide proof of citizenship any time they are pulled over by police.
The new law will allow police to demand proof of citizenship of anyone they detain for any reason, not just people arrested for criminal activity. This is one reason the law was opposed by the police chiefs of every major Texas city.
During a tense confrontation on the House floor, Rinaldi complained of being “bullied” by Democratic legislators who defended the protesters’ right to object to the new law.
The real bullies, though, are Rinaldi and every other legislator who voted for the unnecessary and politically motivated piece of legislation that now threatens millions of Texas citizens, including school kids and their families, with potential discrimination simply because of the way they look.