After coming under fire from students and schools officials, the “catch an illegal immigrant” event –planned by conservative group at the University of Texas in Austin—has been called off.
The school’s chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas posted details of what it billed as a “game” to its Facebook page on Monday.
According to the post – written by chairman Lorenzo Garcia – several people would be walking around the school’s campus on Nov. 20 with the words “illegal immigrant” printed on their clothing. Any student who “catches” one of the so-called “illegal immigrants” and brings them back to the student organization’s table would have received receive a $25 gift card.
The group said that the purpose of the event is to “spark a campus-wide discussion about the issue of illegal immigration, and how it affects our everyday lives.”
Shortly after the event was announced, Bill Powers, the school’s president released a statement saying the event is “completely out of line with the values” the university espouses and ask that YCT find a “more productive and respectful way” to grapple with the questions surrounding immigration reform.
Garcia then wrote a letter saying the event was cancelled due to group members’ concerns that “the university will retaliate against them and that the protest against the event could create a safety issue for our volunteers.”
Garcia – who has worked for state Attorney General Greg Abbott’s campaign for governor and was an intern for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – said the $25 gift card was “misguided” but the event was “intentionally over-the-top in order to get attention.”
The same group – at a school where Hispanics account for 19.1% of students – was criticized earlier this fall for holding a bake sale with “special pricing” for customers based on their race and ethnicity.