"Catch an Illegal Immigrant" event cancelled after controversy

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 5:12pm

A conservative student group at the University of Texas at Austin is cancelling their controversial mock illegal immigrant hunt after outrage against the event followed.

The Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) organization at the University of Texas at Austin wanted to spark a discussion on campus about illegal immigration.

That spark quickly turned into a blaze of outrage after the group revealed an event planned called "Catch an Illegal Immigrant."  It was described as a game where UT students would receive a $25 gift card from the YCT for "catching" an illegal immigrant, played by volunteers walking around campus labeled as such.

But today, that event is canceled after a storm of protest from students.

"There's people that have died at the border--it's not a game," said UT student Rubi Espiricueta.  "There's people who have risked their lives for a better opportunity."

The president of the university issued a statement yesterday, stating in part 'The proposed YCT event is completely out of line with the values we espouse at the University of Texas at Austin.  Our students, faculty, and entire university work hard to promote diversity and engage in a respectful exchange of ideas.'

The group's chairman, Lorenzo Garcia, claims that's exactly what he intended to do--exchange ideas on the subject of illegal immigration.  He had this to say to KXAN (NBC affiliate in Austin) yesterday:

"We are trying to highlight the fact that illegal immigrants take more than they give in terms of taxes in terms of economic input."

Newscenter 23 was unable to contact Garcia, but he did issue a letter to the University of Texas at Austin this morning.  He concludes that letter by stating 'I believed that our event would spark this discussion on campus, and though we will no longer be holding the event, I hope the publicity surrounding the event will create debate among students.'

The full transcript of Garcia's letter can be seen here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/185437359/YCT-Statement-Canceling-Immigration-...

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