On Monday, the University of Texas at Austin chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas – a student-led organization at my school – decided that the best way to spark a conversation about our country’s immigration policy would be to hold a game on campus called “Catch an Illegal Immigrant.” Volunteers planned to walk on campus with signs that read “illegal immigrant,” and students who “caught” these volunteers and brought them to the YCT table would be rewarded with a $25 gift certificate.
But our broken immigration system is no game, and immigrant families deserve far better than these demeaning and dehumanizing tactics.
Every day, millions of undocumented immigrants live in fear and isolation as a result of a system that is harmful to families, our economy, and our values as progressives. As actress America Ferrera declared at a counter-rally on campus today, “We are better than these tactics based on ignorance and intolerance. We are capable of better. So we must do better, on every level of society – in our communities, in our institutions of learning, and in our government.”
It is past time Washington paid attention to the voices of undocumented immigrant families and their allies. Fixing our broken immigration system is not only the smart choice, it’s the moral choice. And for those who think getting Congress to act on this is a lost cause, just remember the words of civil rights leader César Chavez: “Sí, se puede!”
Yes, we can!
Kyler is a 2013 YP4 Fellow from Austin, Texas