Students clash over immigration


Vishesh Anand

A student examines the Wall for Victims demonstration by Turning Point USA on the Main Quad on Mar. 15.

The University’s chapter of Turning Point USA hosted a “memorial for victims of illegal immigration” on the Main Quad on Thursday.

TPUSA’s Facebook event said they were building a wall in memory of victims of crimes perpetrated by undocumented immigrants.

Counter protesters were also involved at the event, taking a vow of silence and standing with posters.

The “wall” was a collection of boxes piled high with pictures and descriptions of people who were killed by immigrants, many of these cases by intoxicated drivers or by vehicular manslaughter.

Joel Valdez, campus coordinator for TPUSA and freshman in LAS, said the purpose of creating the “wall” outside the Illini Union was to create conversations.

“Often when we talk about illegal immigration, the topic has been controversial,” Valdez said. “We want to talk about how to give justice to anyone who was killed in the country.”

Valdez said he identified as Latino-American, and that he organized the event himself.

“I just feel like it is my duty to bring light to these people as a Latino-American, so that we don’t need to be thrown insults like we are neo-Nazis,” Valdez said.

TPUSA is not against immigration, they are just against illegal immigration, Valdez said.

“It’s really messed up that protesters want to hide the truth that these people were killed,” Valdez said. “I honestly believe they think these people don’t matter because of the protest. If they disagree with us, they can come to us and we will have a nice conversation.”

Counter protesters declined to comment at the event.

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