Who could have ever predicted that this would be a bad idea?
A conservative student group at the University of Texas announced Monday that it plans to organize a mock immigration roundup on campus this week as a way to start a conversation about illegal immigration.
The event, dubbed “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game,” by the UT Chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas, ignited a blaze of controversy on social media that quickly spilled into the state’s gubernatorial race.
The group, which caused a stir in September by holding an affirmative action bake sale, said it will have up to five of its members spread out on campus Wednesday wearing name tags that say “illegal immigrant.”
Students who catch one of them and take that person to the YCT recruiting table will be rewarded with $25 gift cards. Organizers said the purpose, while clearly provocative, is to drum up a campuswide conversation on the hot-button topic of illegal immigration.
“If we held a forum or a public debate, no one would show up,” said Lorenzo Garcia, YCT chairman of the UT chapter. “But if we have an event like this, it gets people talking about it, and if it gets people talking about it, then we’ve succeeded.”
Announced early Monday via Facebook, the game drew almost instant condemnation from Democrats, pro-immigration groups, university officials and even Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose gubernatorial campaign was pulled into the controversy.
Yes, that’s Greg Abbott getting hugged by “hunt” organizer Lorenzo Garcia. You know what they say, your enemies can hurt you but your friends can kill you. As unsurprising as the reaction to this event was to anyone with more self-awareness than Garcia, it was just as unsurprisingly cancelled shortly thereafter.
The UT chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas has canceled a mock immigration sting on campus scheduled for Wednesday. YCT campus chairman Lorenzo Garcia said in a statement that organizers feared UT officials would retaliate against them.
Garcia also cited safety concerns, but conceded that the event, where students were to be rewarded with $25 gift cards for “catching” undocumented immigrants, was “over the top.” He nonetheless took issue with the backlash he received on Monday and said he hoped the controversy would stir debate on the issue of immigration.
“I have been called an ‘Uncle Tom.’ I have received emails and comments via social media filled with obscenity,” Garcia said in the statement. “The reactions of some who claim that YCT is creating a demeaning or degrading environment on campus have been truly disgraceful.”
Garcia also took a swipe at the university, saying he thought it a place where “students could express their opinions — whether or not they were popular.”
In a brief statement, university officials said they were pleased with the decision and said the school “honors the right of free speech for all students.”
Garcia and the YCT’s whiny and self-pitying statement is here. The YCT did of course express their opinion in this matter. And then everyone else expressed their opinions, and the YCT got all confused and sad when they realized that an awful lot of people thought their opinion was horrible and offensive. But don’t cry for them, because the YCT got exactly what they wanted out of this: A lot of attention, and the opportunity to indulge in the kind of persecuted victimhood that only the truly privileged can achieve. PDiddie, BOR (twice), and AzulTX have more.