Over 100 students, faculty, staff community supporters gathered at the University of Texas campus this afternoon to protest a so-called “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game that was originally planned for today.
The event, proposed by the UT chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas, called for students to track down and return volunteers wearing shirts reading “illegal immigrant” in exchange for a gift card.
The group called off the event earlier this week in the wake of widespread condemnation. But people gathered on campus today to protest the motivation behind the game.
Many protesters stood silently.
“Silence speaks to higher volumes,” said UT undergraduate Veronica Rivera, who helped organize the protest. “The impact of silence is something that is beyond words. We’re really trying to get as many people out there.”
Actress America Ferrera surprised many by delivering a keynote address. Ferrera portrays Helen Chávez, the wife of United Farm Workers founder César Chávez, in an upcoming film.
She spoke against the Young Conservatives’ proposed event, and in favor of national immigration reform.
“The plight of immigrant families is not a game …. The fear that these hard-working immigrants live with every single day, hoping and praying that their families won’t be torn apart by senseless deportations, is not a subject to be made a game of,” she said. Several students also spoke up against the game – including some students that identified as undocumented immigrants.