UPDATE: “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” Event at UT Austin Cancelled, Opponents Blamed
The same conservative student group that held an affirmative action bake sale at the University of Texas at Austin this fall is hosting another controversial event — this time, a mock immigration sting.
On Wednesday, the campus chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas will offer students $25 gift cards if they can “catch” an undocumented immigrant — a group of volunteers wearing “illegal immigrant” labels. The event is intended to “spark a campus-wide discussion about the issue of illegal immigration and how if affects our everyday lives,” according to a brief statement released by Lorenzo Garcia, the YCT chapter chairman.
When you read the Statement of Principles at the website of these Young Conservatives, you will see your basic Paulian theocratic, free enterprise wish list, complete with anti-Fed, Tenth Amendment and isolationist clauses. This should come as no surprise in combination with the partial list of YCT alumni in politics at Wikipedia:
- Will Hartnett, Texas State Representative
- Jeb Hensarling, U.S. Congressman
- Bryan Hughes, Texas State Representative
- Tan Parker, Texas State Representative
- Harvey Hilderbran, Texas State Representative
- Dwayne Bohac, Texas State Representative
- Jodie Laubenburg [sic], Texas State Representative
- Steve Stockman, U.S. Congressman
- Rand Paul, Kentucky U.S. Senator
- Steve Munisteri, Republican Party of Texas Chairman
Sure enough, Rand Paul is on it. Steve Stockman served as the State Chair of the organization.
YCT-UT has a Facebook page about their event.
Here is a place for UT students and others to report or comment on this event.
YCT-UT Chapter Chairman Lorenzo Garcia says people who were offended by this proposed bit of street theater might have become violent, so he had to cancel. He admitted the plan was ill-advised, but that’s not the reason he gave for changing his mind about following through.
The Young Conservatives of Texas chapter at the University of Texas has called off its plan to host a game called “Catch an Illegal Immigrant,” an event originally planned for Wednesday.
“After the University President and the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement released statements denouncing the event we planed as violating the university’s honor code, 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,” YCT-UT Chapter Chairman Lorenzo Garcia.
“I acknowledge that the decision to include issuing $25 gift cards during the event was misguided and that the idea for the event was intentionally over-the-top in order to get attention for the subject,” said Garcia in a press release on Tuesday morning. “It is a simple fact that illegal immigration is a concern in this country and that it is one we must face.”
On Monday, Garcia said: “Although they thought we were being racist, just like they probably will for this event, we are trying to prove a political point. We are trying to highlight the fact that illegal immigrants take more than they give in terms of taxes, in terms of economic output.”
Facts may be simple, but not that simple. Read this, and not just these excerpts, to see that Mr. Garcia is wrong:
Illegal immigration does have some undeniably negative economic effects. Similarly skilled native-born workers are faced with a choice of either accepting lower pay or not working in the field at all. Labor economists have concluded that undocumented workers have lowered the wages of U.S. adults without a high-school diploma — 25 million of them — by anywhere between 0.4 to 7.4 percent.
The impact on everyone else, though, is surprisingly positive. Giovanni Peri, an economist at the University of California, Davis, has written a series of influential papers comparing the labor markets in states with high immigration levels to those with low ones. He concluded that undocumented workers do not compete with skilled laborers — instead, they complement them. Economies, as Adam Smith argued in “Wealth of Nations,” work best when workers become specialized and divide up tasks among themselves. Pedro Chan’s ability to take care of routine tasks on a work site allows carpenters and electricians to focus on what they do best. In states with more undocumented immigrants, Peri said, skilled workers made more money and worked more hours; the economy’s productivity grew. From 1990 to 2007, undocumented workers increased legal workers’ pay in complementary jobs by up to 10 percent.
There are many ways to debate immigration, but when it comes to economics, there isn’t much of a debate at all. Nearly all economists, of all political persuasions, agree that immigrants — those here legally or not — benefit the overall economy. “That is not controversial,” Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, told me. Shierholz also said that “there is a consensus that, on average, the incomes of families in this country are increased by a small, but clearly positive amount, because of immigration.”
It would be nice if this college student would focus more on educating himself, rather than spreading his disinformation with horribly offensive tactics.