A controversial University of Texas (UT) student group has canceled its “Catch An Illegal Immigrant” event following a nationwide backlash, according to several Texas news outlets. The cancellation was announced by Lorenza Garcia, the chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas-UT Chapter (YCTUT).
Organizers of the event, which was originally planned for Wednesday afternoon on UT’s campus, pledged to hand out $25 gift cards to anyone who “caught” YCTUT members wearing shirts that said “Illegal Immigrant.”
“I acknowledge that the decision to incude issuing $25 gift cards during the event was misguided and that the idea for the event was intentionally over the top in order to get attention for the subject,” Garcia wrote in a press release announcing the event’s cancellation. “After the University President and the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement released statements denouncing the event we planned as violating the university’s honor code, I spoke with our chapter’s members, and they are both concerned that the university will retaliate against them and that the protest against the event could create a safety issue for our volunteers.”
“Although they thought we were being racist, just like they probably will for this event, we are trying to prove a political point. We are trying to highlight the fact that illegal immigrants take more than they give in terms of taxes, in terms of economic output,” Garcia concluded.
Earlier today, the chancellor and chairman of the UT Board of Regents issued a joint statement condemning the event.
“It is both disappointing and dishonorable for any UT student to treat another with disrespect, and we hope that the Young Conservatives of Texas explore more constructive and mature ways to promote a dialogue about issues of concern to them,” they wrote.
As of 10:00 a.m. today, over 500 people had signed up on Facebook to attend the event despite its cancellation. Even after cancellation of the event, negative comments continued to flood YCTUT’s Facebook page.
One individual posted a poll question on the page, asking if YCTUT was racist or not racist. Over 2,000 people selected “Racist,” while fewer than 200 selected “Not Racist.”