A conservative student government group at the University of Texas in Austin has canceled a controversial immigration event due to public outrage.
In a statement released by Lorenzo Garcia, chairman for The Young Conservatives of Texas, Garcia said that he canceled the event out of fear of retaliation by the university, and concern that protests against the event could create a "safety issue" for those participating.
On Wednesday, the Young Conservatives of Texas UT chapter was planning on holding a mock immigration roundup called "catch an illegal immigrant" to draw attention to the illegal immigration issue in the United States, according to the group. The event would've seen several UT students walking around campus wearing a label on their clothing that read "illegal immigrant." Any student that caught a fake illegal immigrant would have been rewarded with a $25 gift card.
After University President Bill Powers and the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement released statements denouncing the event, saying that it violated the school's honor code, the group decided to call it off.
"The event was intentionally over-the-top in order to get attention for the subject," said Lorenzo Garcia, Chairman for the Young Conservatives of Texas UT Chapter. "It is a simple fact that illegal immigration is a concern in this country and that it is one we must face."
The university issued a response to the decision to cancel the event:
"The University of Texas at Austin honors the right of free speech for all students. We welcome the Young Conservatives of Texas' decision to cancel Wednesday's event and look forward to the group being part of a thoughtful campus discussion about immigration."