The University of Texas at Austin is sounding off after a student group planned a controversial immigration event. It involved members pretending to be illegal immigrants and students “capturing those immigrants” for a reward.
The group behind the game, Young Conservatives of Texas, calls it “Catch an Illegal Immigrant.” According to texas radio KUT, as of Tuesday morning, the game had been called off by YCT chairman Lorenzo Garcia.
"Garcia claims he canceled the event out of fears the university would retaliate against the group's members, 'and that the protest against the event could create a safety issue for our volunteers.'" (Via KUT.org)
Before cancelling, Garcia had been making the media rounds in defense of the game and clarifying its intention.
On Monday, KXAN broke down the rules of “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” and allowed the chairman to explain.
REPORTER: "... Any UT student who brings them back to the group will receive a $25 gift card."
GARCIA: "We're trying to highlight the fact that illegal immigrants, they take more than what they give in terms of taxes, in terms of resources, in terms of economic output…" (Via KXAN)
By early Tuesday, word had reached univeristy officials,which prompted them to prepare this statement condemning the game.
"... they are willfully ignoring the honor code and contributing to the degradation of our campus culture … Such actions are counterproductive to true dialogue on our campus, and it is unrepresentative of the ideals toward which our community strives." (Via University of Texas at Austin)
HLN surveyed the student population who seems to agree with the college.
"For them to say that they can just chase anyone who is undocumented, that's very insulting to me and to every single undocumented person who is on campus ... I think its a little disrespectful. I think they're making a joke out of it ... This wasn't best way to approach the situation, especially making a mockery of people that deal with this real life situation." (Via HLN)
Garcia and the YCT believe their “shock and awe” tactics are necessary to drum up a conversation. In The Texas Tribune the chairman adds…
"If we held a forum or a public debate no one would show up … But if we have an event like this it gets people talking about and if it gets people talking about it then we’ve succeeded." (Via The Texas Tribune)
UT’s chapter of YCT is no stranger to controversy. In September, the group held an “affirmative action bake sale.”
According to The Houston Chronicle, the group priced the brownies sold based on the race and gender of the buyer. This again led university officials to condemn the event calling it "inflammatory and demeaning."
NPR reports The University of Texas permits undocumented immigrants to enroll under Texas Law. There are an estimated 400 undocumented students at the university.
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