A Mexican restaurant in West Columbia, is under fire after a photo of one of its employees—wearing what some people say is a racist T-shirt—circulated the Internet over the weekend.
The photo, tweeted Sunday by Free Times reporter Corey Hutchins, shows the shirt, which reads "How to Catch an Illegal Immigrant" in white, red and green—the colors of the Mexican flag. Under the text, there's a picture of a trap with a taco as bait. The restaurant's address and contact information are listed below the image.
All employees at the restaurant can wear the T-shirts if they want, according to the Taco Cid website, but management does not force the employees to wear the shirts. The shirts are also on sale in the store.
After the story gained national attention early this week, Taco Cid updated its website with a response to the controversy.
"Our T-shirts were created as a witty and comical statement regarding ILLEGAL immigrants," the statement reads. "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."
"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," the statement continues. "Is it 'racist' to disagree with those who are not supporting the American system?"
Owner Leanne Snelgrove told WIS that she and her family saw a similar shirt during a trip to Key West and picked up the idea, but never meant to target a specific nationality.
"We want everyone to know that illegal immigrants could be of all nationalities, so unfortunately, we just used the taco because we own a Mexican restaurant," Snelgrove told WIS. "It's nothing racial; it's nothing against nationalities."
What do you think? Are the T-shirts offensive and racist or are they witty and comical? Tell us in the comments section below!