A small town Mexican restaurant has come under fire for its controversial employee T-shirts. A tweeted photo of a worker at Taco Cid of West Columbia, S.C., shows him wearing one of the restaurant’s shirts with an image of two tacos beneath a box trap, labeled “How To Catch An Illegal Immigrant.” Although the eatery has defended the shirts as a joke, critics and immigrant rights activists have called the shirts racist and insensitive.
“There’s nothing funny about a child crying as its mother is being taken away by police,” B. Loewe, a spokesman for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, told Fox News. “There’s nothing to joke about when it comes to our immigration policies. This T-shirt is not funny.”
Taco Cid has taken the publicity in stride, asserting that the joke is not directed at any racial group, and that the business has a firm stance against illegal immigration. Furthermore, in a post on its website, Taco Cid suggested that individuals who did not agree with their stance on illegal immigrants should stay away from the restaurant, and their critics seem happy to oblige.
“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,” the establishment’s statement read. “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”
Taco Cid is offering to sell supporters their own “illegal immigrant” T-shirts . Fox News reports that the West Columbia location is the last remaining branch of what was once a chain of four restaurants. While the Taco Cid T-shirt may not have been born out of ill intent, the company’s unapologetic response could speak to the larger concerns of critics.
“Of course it’s offensive, it’s meant to be. This is simply a failing business trolling for attention,” Lisa Navarrete, advisor to the president, National Council of La Raza, told Fox. “We would recommend people not patronize this place. Sure, because of this insult, but really due to the fact that a restaurant this clueless about the Latino community can’t possibly make a decent taco.”