Home arrow News arrow U of I's GOP's "Catch the Illegal Immigrant Game"
U of I's GOP's "Catch the Illegal Immigrant Game"

By: Zhi Xiong - The Daily Iowan

The UI College Republicans - part of the College Republican National Committee - will host a Capture the Flag game Thursday at City Park.

The title of this game: "Catch an Illegal Immigrant."

The match is part of the UI College Republicans' second Conservative Coming Out Week, which kicked off on Sunday with "Condi Rice Day."

But the contest focusing on illegal immigration is arguably one of the more controversial elements of the week designed to promote and stoke awareness of conservative politics - a minority viewpoint on the solidly liberal UI campus.

Greg Baker, the president of the College Republicans, said the Catch an Illegal Immigrant game is a tribute to former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.

"He was for stronger immigration policy," Baker said. "That's why we chose him for the historical president."

Two teams - the "illegal immigrants" and the "border patrol" - will try to cross the dividing line representing the United States-Mexico border. If a team member is tagged, he or she goes to "jail."

"It is controversial, but this emphasizes illegal immigration," Baker said. "We want a stronger conservative approach to it: sound protection of borders."

Thursday's game is among a series of similar events on college campuses nationwide. "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day" put the University of Michigan in the national spotlight in September 2006 when the student group Young Americans for Freedom offered a cash award for finding someone posing as an illegal immigrant.

Following protests from minority groups at Michigan, Morgan Wilkins, a contractor for the College Republican National Committee, was fired by the organization.

Earlier, a similar scenario played out in April 2006 when the College Republicans at Penn State University organized a "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game." After protests from students, the group held an illegal-immigration awareness day instead.

Andrea Hernandez, a member of the UI Latino Law Student Association, said hosting the event is "irresponsible."

"[Illegal immigration] is hot topic right now," she said. "It's automatically offensive. They're making a game out of it and not respecting the seriousness of the issue."

Coming Out Week's début on the UI campus in April 2006 also raised some eyebrows. The "animal rights grill-out," which took a sarcastic jab at the advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by securing plenty of meat for the barbecue, generated many e-mail complaints, Baker said.

The UI sophomore said he only responded to those that were "phrased in a nicer way." Baker said public protest is a possibility this year in response to the Capture the Flag game.

"But people don't have time to protest every single act of ignorance," Hernandez said. "I wish they would just realize what they're doing, and think about it for a second, and not hold the event."

The UI Republicans have other events scheduled in addition from Thursday's planned game. Each day of the week is named after a prominent Republican president.

For example, today is designated Abraham Lincoln Day, and students will find themselves walking through a Civil War re-enactment in the Pentacrest complete with a Lincoln a look-alike delivering the Gettysburg Address.

On Sunday, featured speaker Leon Mosley, a co-chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, came to discuss party diversity and the 2008 presidential election.

"This is to show we do have diversity in our party," Baker said. "Not only is [Mosley] African American, he is one of the top people in the party."

Mosley, an inspirational speaker, paced the grounds outside the IMU in copper-toed cowboy boots, addressing an audience of around 20 UI students and one parent. Between digs at affirmative action, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton, he encouraged the audience to stand up for their political views.

"Don't apologize for being conservative," Mosley said. "You are a child of the King. You can be anything you want to be."
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