YCT Cancels Immigrant Hunt

Chairman says group fears university retaliation

By Brandon Watson, 11:15AM, Tue. Nov. 19, 2013

Lorenzo Garcia and Greg Abbott
Lorenzo Garcia and Greg Abbott

After near-universal condemnation, Young Conservatives of Texas Chairman Lorenzo Garcia has cancelled the illegal immigrant hunt originally planned for Wednesday.

In a statement, Garcia partially blamed a statement issued by UT President Bill Powers and Vice President of Diversity and Community Engagement Dr. Gregory Vincent for the cancellation. Garcia said, "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."

In the UT statement, Vincent warned, "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. And once again, they will have resorted to exercising one of the university’s core values to the detriment of others."

Although Garcia did not directly address the charges that the action degraded campus culture, he did admit the protest was "over-the-top." "I acknowledge that the decision to include issuing $25 gift cards during the event was misguided," Garcia said.

Garcia also painted himself as a victim of the opposition. "I have been shocked at the uproar over the event's premise and at the personal attacks against me," he said. "Today, opponents of YCT have claimed that I am being used as a front man. I have been called an 'Uncle Tom.' I have received emails and comments via social media filled with obscenity. The reactions of some who claim that YCT is creating a demeaning or degrading environment on campus have been truly disgraceful."

Meanwhile, the Greg Abbott gubernatorial campaign has sought to distance itself from its former staffer. A campaign representative noted that Garcia had left the paid field director position weeks ago. Abbott issued a stronger statement, "Our campaign has no affiliation with this repugnant effort. Illegal immigration and the failed policies of the Obama Administration are not a joking matter."

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