Students react to Young Conservatives of Texas’ event

Matthew Matos and Pedro Villalobos

"I am a first year law student and a DREAMer. My parents brought me to this exceptional country at the age of 4. Although I am not a citizen on paper, I am one in heart. That’s why I’m speaking out against the attempted hateful “Catch An Illegal Immigrant” stunt.

The Young Conservatives of Texas claimed that the purpose of the proposed event was to “spark a campus-wide discussion.” But how can that be accomplished when they planned to make people’s lives a game that belittles their very presence on campus? The safety and ability of many students, including myself, to pursue an education hinges on the issue of immigration, the same issue that YCT seemed so keen on equating with a game that had no sincere purpose other than to make people’s livelihood an opportunity for political gain.

It should be no surprise that YCT also endorses candidates who play this same “game” on the state level. These are the candidates who threaten to take away the opportunity for many to build a better life and to give back to Texas. All current Republican candidates for lieutenant governor oppose the Texas DREAM Act, a bill that has allowed me to attend this distinguished university as an undergraduate and currently as a law student. Moreover, it is no surprise that the student who organized this event previously worked as a field representative for Attorney General Greg Abbott. Abbott wants to be elected governor but has said that he doesn’t support the Texas DREAM Act in its present form, and refuses to answer questions about what he would propose instead. These partisans attempt to divide us are based upon hatred, fear, xenophobia and discrimination.

It is time for all of us to stand up and act, not only when deplorable events such as these arise; we must fight every single day for social justice. For many DREAMers this is not just an issue brought about when young conservatives want to pretend to detain us. It is an issue we face everyday. Tomorrow our family members could be deported. Tomorrow the legislature could pass a bill repealing the Texas DREAM Act, effectively ending any higher educational opportunities for many bright students. As students, we need to claim our place in the future of this great state and demand better leaders who will fight for all Texans. We need to get back to the real values we all admire: community, hard work, equality and opportunities for success, regardless of where you came from. These are the real values that have made Texas the state we all love. I have full faith that this is the Texas we can create for our future." 

Pedro Villalobos, J.D. candidate, University of Texas School of Law 

"There has been much talk about the Young Conservatives of Texas’ “Catch An Illegal Immigrant” event. As a fellow conservative thinker, I am saddened by the event, but not disheartened. I urge students not to form an opinion on conservatism based on the actions of this group for they misrepresent what we stand for. When the Tea Party-backed gubernatorial candidate’s campaign condemns your actions, you know you’re doing something wrong as a conservative group. Students, conservatism is a not an idealism rooted in hate or alienation. On the contrary, it is a message of hope and a bright future for the United States. So to the YCT, I say please step away from the situation and ask yourselves if you’re gaining members and being talked about positively, or are you creating a disdain toward conservatives and being talked about negatively? Also, ask what your goals and objectives are, because I fail to see what you’re trying to accomplish with your recent actions. Spread the idea that conservatism leads to a positive future for students, because that is exactly what we believe it does. So on behalf of conservatives who didn’t approve of this event, I apologize to anyone who felt alienated or was offended by YCT's actions." 

Matthew Matos, sophomore engineering major