Mock Immigration Sting At UT Austin Canceled
November 19, 2013
Eric Gay/AP via NPR
Students walk through the University of Texas at Austin campus near the school's iconic tower in Austin, Texas.

News spread quickly Monday about a mock immigration sting being organized by a student group at the University of Texas at Austin.

The UT chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas planned a kind of game in which they encouraged students to find and "catch" volunteers wearing T-shirts that read "illegal immigrants." The group promised to reward each catch with a $25 gift card.

The event was planned for Wednesday, but the uproar against it by elected officials and university leadership was so great, it is now canceled.

The Texas Tribune reports YTC campus chairman Lorenzo Garcia said organizers of the event feared retaliation by the university. He told the Tribune the event was not meant to be insulting, but rather stir debate on the subject of immigration.

The Tribune reports that in September, the conservative student group held a bake sale critical of affirmative action policies at the university. The group charged different prices for baked goods depending on the buyers race.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas is one of 16 states that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition to attend college. Texas, New Mexico and California also allow these students to receive financial aide.

In Arizona, Attorney General Tom Horne is suing to stop the state's largest community college network from granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students. The Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, which grants temporary legal status to young immigrants who entered the country illegally as children, is also helping them qualify for in-state tuition rates.

Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is moving in the opposite direction in California. Napolitano was named president of the University of California this summer. Last month she announced a $5 million pledge to provide counseling and financial aid to UC students living in the country without the proper documentation.