Updated 5:37 p.m. ET, 11/18/2013
(CNN) – A conservative student group at the University of Texas in Austin is organizing an event Wednesday called "Catch an Illegal Immigrant," where participants will be rewarded with $25 gift cards for "catching" students wearing "Illegal Immigrant" labels.
According to the group, the Young Conservatives of Texas-UT chapter, the purpose of the event is "to spark a campus-wide discussion about the issue of illegal immigration, and how it affects our everyday lives."
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If stirring something up was their goal, they've certainly met expectations.
National Democrats and immigration reform advocates quickly seized on the event, with some noting on Twitter that Lorenzo Garcia, the chairman of the student group, works for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who's running for governor next year.
Matt Hirsch, a spokesman for Abbott's campaign, however said Garcia does not currently work for the campaign. He used to work as a paid field representative and left the campaign more than two months ago.
"Our campaign has no affiliation with this repugnant effort. Illegal immigration and the failed policies of the Obama Administration are not a joking matter," Avdiel Huerta, Abbott's campaign press secretary said in an official statement.
Garcia's LinkedIn account also shows he interned at the Texas State Capitol and for Sen. Ted Cruz's 2012 campaign. He did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.
He told the Houston Chronicle that the event is supposed to get people talking.
"If we held a forum or a public debate no one would show up," Garcia said. "But if we have an event like this it gets people talking about and if it gets people talking about it then we've succeeded."
He added that they're "not afraid to be politically incorrect. We don't espouse to the belief that politics is immune to offending someone."
Bill Powers, president of UT Austin, said in a statement the event is " completely out of line" with the school's values. He invited the group to join in on the immigration discussion but "to find more productive and respectful ways to do so that do not demean their fellow students."
The event comes as the federal government grapples with immigration reform. While the Senate passed comprehensive legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, the bill appears to have no future in the House.