The University of Texas Austin chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas is under fire for holding what it calls a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” event on Wednesday.
According to a Monday Facebook post by the group’s chairman, Lorenzo Garcia, the event will feature students walking around campus with T-shirts that read “illegal immigrant.” Anyone who can “catch” a person wearing the shirt and bring them back to the group will receive a $25 gift card.
“The purpose of this event is to spark a campus-wide discussion about the issue of illegal immigration, and how it affects our everyday lives,” Garcia wrote in the Facebook post.
Current and former UT students were offended by the event.
“Its really troubling that his event would be allowed to happen when there’s 300 undocumented immigrants at UT and they all live with this fear that someone is going to try and catch them,” Aniee Athar, a UT graduate, told the San Antonio Express-News.
UT officials also released a statement to the San Antonio Express-News condemning the event.
“If the members of YCT carry out their plan for ‘Catch an Illegal Immigrant’, they are willfully ignoring the honor code and contributing to the degradation of our campus culture,” the statement reads.
Garcia defended the event by maintaining that it was a good way to start a debate about immigration.
“If we held a forum or a public debate no one would show up,” he told the Express-News. “We’re not afraid to be politically incorrect. We don’t espouse to the belief that politics is immune to offending someone.”
Garcia used to work for Texas Attorney General and GOP gubernatiorial candidate Greg Abbot, drawing criticism of Abbot by state Democrats.
“This is an incredible shame,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement obtained by the Houston Chronicle. “Greg Abbott owes Texas DREAM Act scholars an apology, and he must come out and immediately denounce Wednesday’s event. This style of hatred and fear is not the type of leadership Texas deserves.”