Taco Cid, a Mexican restaurant in Columbia, S.C., is defending a controversial T-shirt it produced after a photo of an employee wearing the shirt made its rounds on the web, sparking outrage among customers.
As The Huffington Post reported on Monday, the T-shirt includes an image of a wooden trap with tacos used as bait and a caption that reads: “How to catch an illegal immigrant.” The words are colored with green, white and red, which are the colors of the Mexican flag.
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Responding to the backlash against the shirt, which is also reportedly for sale to the public, Taco Cid has released a statement on its website:
Our t-shirts were created as a witty and comical statement regarding illegal immigrants. There are no racial or hate remarks towards any specific ethnic group.
[...] As most tax paying Americans, we do believe illegal immigrants are taxing the system we support and live under, thereby, causing us to work harder and pay more taxes in support of their 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?
[...] If you do not agree with our views on illegal immigrants, please do not visit our establishment.
Taco Cid added that an unidentified group has contacted the restaurant to inform them that they will be holding a protest in or near the restaurant to oppose the controversial T-shirt. The restaurant did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by HuffPost.
As often happens when a business’s political statements get picked up in the media, Taco Cid’s Yelp page has become a battleground between critics and supporters.
“T-shirts are still for sale,” Taco Cid said in a message on its site dated Jan. 8, 2013.