Response to “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” Game at UT-Austin Overwhelmingly Negative

UPDATE: The event has now been cancelled.

Wen it comes to the reaction towards the “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game promoted by Lorenzo Garcia, the University of Texas-Austin chapter leader of the Young Conservatives of Texas, it is safe to say that everyone thought Garcia’s idea was stupid.

Here’s some perspective: yesterday morning at 5:57amET, Garcia posted the “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” event on Facebook. Local Texas press started tweeting the event out at 8:01amET. Latino Rebels got a tip from a Texas friend by 9:45am. Our story was published around 10amET and posted on Facebook. It was our most viral story ever, with over 45,000 views and counting.

A few hours later, the university was commenting, Garcia was talking to Buzzfeed, and it felt like everyone in Latino social media was talking about this one ridiculous moment.

By the end of the day, the story had made major news outlets like the AP, ABC News, Al Jazeera America, CNN, etc.

So what do we know right now?

People are still pissed. Really pissed. And it’s like majorly pissed, not the manufactured one that the Texas Democrats have jumped on, since that is what politicians do: they try to jump on the bandwagon. Why does this even HAVE to be partisan? The Texas Democrats need to chill for a minute, and let this play out authentically.

A counter protest is being scheduled for tomorrow, and one LR Twitter follower tweeted this to us:

The university is also going to meet with Garcia today. Meanwhile, Garcia’s Twitter page RTd a few tweets yesterday:

garciatweets

Then there is this photo, showing Garcia shaking hands with Senator Ted Cruz:

tedcruzpic

The actual FB event page for Garcia’s Dumbest Idea Ever has become an intense forum where people are debating the issue. You want to spend a hour reading how strongly people feel about this game? Go here. There are so many comments, we have lost count. By the way, most of the reaction condemns’ Garcia’s actions. Here’s just a sampling:

I’d like to see scores of protesters peacefully walk around the UT campus with the label “illegal immigrant” on their clothing and really confuse you idiots.

I’m commenting because I wanted to be a part of this historic event: overt racism being displayed by conservatives in Texas!

I joined this “event” just so I could say something about it.
People cannot be illegal.
People cannot be illegal.
People cannot be illegal.
Breaking laws is illegal, but people in and of themselves cannot be illegal. If you’re trying to make a point, at least be educated about it. These people are undocumented, NOT illegal. It seems that y’all missed the passing of AR 16 AND the event featuring Jose Antonio Vargas last month. Before trying to educate others, educate yourselves first.

Last night Cafe con Leche Republicans posted the following statement about the game:

Bob Quasius, President of Cafe Con Leche Republicans, said, “The ‘catch an illegal immigrant’ game is in very bad taste and doesn’t reflect conservative values. The vast majority of Conservatives are neither anti-immigrant nor anti-Latino. In fact, poll after poll show a solid majority of Republicans support immigration reform including a path to citizenship.”

“Stupid is letting your opposition define you. Liberals have often been successful at defining conservatives as anti-immigrant and anti-Latino, because a small minority of conservatives use shrill rhetoric that provides ammo for liberals to use in redefining conservatives as something we’re not. In a 2012 poll commissioned by Fox News Latino, nearly half of Latinos find the term “illegal immigrant” offensive. Conservatives have enough image problems already with Latinos without adding to our perception problem with tasteless publicity stunts like this “catch an illegal immigrant” game, and the diversity bake sale from the same group.”

“We’re happy to see Gregg Abbott and other conservatives come out and reject this publicity stunt. However, most Latinos know unauthorized immigrants, often close friends or family members, who don’t fit the negative stereotypes often propagated by the anti-immigrant lobby. How politicians and political groups talk about immigration has an outsized impact on perception from Latinos and Asians. Many Republican politicians now are starting to ‘get’ Latinos and we need to keep that momentum.”

“Young Conservative Texans certainly have a first amendment right to express themselves. Many of us were young and foolish in our college days. However, having a right doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wise to exercise that right in a way that reflects on others who proudly wear the label “conservative.” We call on Young Conservatives of Texas to exercise good judgment and cancel Wednesday’s event and apologize.”

“We understand Lorenzo Garcia has also been a staffer for Senator Ted Cruz in addition to Gregg Abbott. We call on Ted Cruz to join Gregg Abbott in repudiating this tasteless publicity stunt.”

In a statement to Buzzfeed, San Antonio mayor Julian Castro said the following:

“Texas Republicans are becoming more and more radical. This ‘game’ points to a growing anti-immigrant sentiment from within the Republican Party in Texas. Much like the rhetoric that gave birth to Proposition 187 in California in the 1990s and SB 1070 in Arizona just a few years ago, the Texas Republican Party is fostering disturbing divisions in our state. Not only have all 4 GOP candidates for Lieutenant Governor vowed to repeal the Texas DREAM Act, but Greg Abbott, the top GOP gubernatorial candidate, has stated that he would change the law yet refuses to give specifics. Texas has a proud and rich immigrant history. These anti-immigrant ‘games’ are out of step with Texas’ values and have been for generations.”

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