WEST COLUMBIA (WACH) - A group of protesters gathered outside of a restaurant in West Columbia Friday after news of the businesses controversial shirts spread this week.
Employees at Taco Cid in West Columbia have been wearing shirts that read "How to catch an illegal immigrant" with a picture of two tacos inside a box trap.
The shirts have placed the restaurant in the national spotlight.
Protesters say the shirts are racist.
Around 20 people in The Young American Dreamers / Forward with Your Promise Caravan group from South Florida marched on the street near Taco Cid on Charleston Hwy Friday afternoon.
The Forward With Your Promise website says the group is caravanning up the East Coast to Washington for the Presidential Inauguration. According to the website, they will be stopping to march for social justice and immigration reform in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Some protesters carried American flags while others marched with signs reading, "Just a shirt? Racist message!!" and shouted similar phrases.
The restaurant's owner, Leanne Snelgrove, says the shirts are not racist. She says Taco Cid has received several threats, but also says the controversial situation has actually created more business for Taco Cid.
Snelgrove did call police Friday when protesters came on the restaurant's property.
A statement was posted to the Taco Cid website under a tab reading "Regarding Our Shirts":
Our t-shirts were created as a witty and comical statement regarding ILLEGAL immigrants. There are NO racial nor hate remarks towards any specific ethnic group.
We serve EVERY individual with the same quality of service, and respect in a friendly and welcoming manner. And employees are NOT forced to wear this shirt (Huffington Post).
Our food is prepared fresh daily and served in the SAME QUALITY and QUANTITY, regardless of your race, religion or political views. We are an equal opportunity employer and will hire anyone who meets our needs and is a legal citizen or legal immigrant. We do not hire illegal immigrants. Our employees pay taxes.
As most tax paying Americans, we do believe ILLEGAL immigrants are burdening the system we support and live under, thereby, causing us to work harder and pay higher taxes to support the illegal activities, which our government has simply chosen to look the other way. Is it "racist" to disagree with those who are not supporting the American system?
We are open Monday through Saturday and closed Sundays â?? in observance of a day of worship.
If you do not agree with our views on ILLEGAL immigrants, please do not patron our establishment. If you agree with our view on American Equality in citizenship and tax fairness, then show your support and come join us for lunch or dinner.
We look forward to serving you!
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