WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - Controversy is swirling around a Midlands taco restaurant Tuesday because of t-shirts that its employees are wearing.
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.
Some say the shirts are racists.
Although the restaurant's owner, Leanne Snelgrove, disagrees. She says Taco Cid has received several threats and some calls of support.
"It's not racist. Illegal immigrants come from all over the place, of all nationalities. There are illegal immigrants. We just chose the two tacos to bring in our customers 'cause we are a Mexican restaurant," said Snelgrove.
The story is gaining national attention.
According to NBC Latino, Efren Serrano, a pastor at Iglesia Nueva Esperanza in West Columbia, says the shirts are inappropriate.
Serrano told NBC Latino, "This is wrong and the Latino community doesn't feel good about this."
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!
Visit the WACH Fox Facebook page to join the conversation on this story.