The University of Texas at Austin Young Conservatives made headlines recently for their controversial “Catch an Illegal Immigrant,” game. The premise of the game involved a group of students walking around the UT Campus wearing shirts that said “Illegal Immigrant.” Students were then incentivized to “catch” one of the students wearing these shirts and turn them in for a gift card prize of $25.
The event was cancelled after school administration threatened to take action.
The game was organized by UT Young Conservative Chairman Lorenzo Garcia. Garcia, however, has not always been known for his conservative values. The former UTSA CAP student was a member of the Young Democrats at UTSA during his freshman year from fall 2011 to spring 2012.
Matthew DeWall, junior political science major at UTSA, was the secretary of the UTSA Young Democrats at the time that Garcia joined the group. “He was very active within the group and we (the Young Democrats) even endorsed him for the SGA Senate race,” said DeWall.
Garcia was also active in his role as a freshman senator in the Student Government Association.
Danny Khalil was president of the Young Democrats at UTSA at the time of Garcia’s membership. “When I first met him he told me he wanted to be a civil rights attorney,” said Khalil. “I think around 2012 he turned markedly more conservative. I believe he was disenchanted with President Obama and became enamored with now Senator Ted Cruz’s Tea Party message.”
Garcia spoke to online news source Buzzfeed about his reasoning behind the “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game. “I’d been thinking about the event for a while since President Obama said he wanted to pursue amnesty after healthcare. It made me think about illegal immigration in general,” said Garcia. “I thought it (the game) would be a good way to spark debate at UT.”