West Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A t-shirt being worn and sold at a South Carolina Mexican restaurant is creating a bit of controversy.
The shirts from Taco Cid read,"How to Catch an IllegalImmigrant." Accompanying the wordsis a drawing of a box with a stickbeing held over two tacos -- a makeshift trap.
A photo of a Taco Cid employee wearing one of the shirts startedgetting national attention over the weekend after it was tweeted byCorey Hutchins, a reporter at the Free Times.
It's obviouslystruck achord: the owner says since the shirtsdebuted, he's gotten calls from all over the country wanting one of theitems, which cost $35.
Taco Cid owner Leanne Snelgrove says the last 24 hours have been anything but a siesta.
"Not nationwide, No. I had a clue it would be a hit around town but not nationwide."
Snelgrove says she's received comments from praising the shirts tomore extreme measures: "We've received death threats, we've receivedbomb threats."
Snelgrove claims evenher husband wasfired by a company and replacedby illegal immigrants. Our sister station WLTX News 19 asked Snelgrove,"What do you say to someone who see's the shirt and says, 'that'sracist'?"
"That's your opinion," said Snelgrove. "If you support illegalimmigrants then you support paying tax dollars for other people who justworked under the table. Let me tell you, small business owners - we paytaxes!"
We showed the shirt to Sandy Jones, a Pastor at a prominently Hispanic Church is the Midlands.
"I think it's very racist, I think it's a very racist comment," saidJones. "If that's not likely illegal immigrants to animals you cancapture with a box I don't know what else."
Jones says she's offended by the shirt and wants the restaurant to stop selling it and toapologize.
"When national news is going to hear and think that everyone is SouthCarolina thinks like this, that hurts me personally. It makes me verysad," said Jones.
Snelgrove says she'll keep selling the shirts, even if she is surprised by all the attention.
"The taco business is booming," said Snelgrove. "Come see us."
On its website, Taco Cid issued a statement about the shirt:
"Our t-shirts were created as a witty and comical statement regardingILLEGAL immigrants. There are NO racial nor hate remarks towards anyspecific ethnic group," it says in part. "As most tax paying Americans,we do believe ILLEGAL immigrants are burdening the system we support andlive under, thereby, causing us to work harder and pay higher taxes tosupport the illegal activities, which our government has simply chosento look the other way. Is it "racist" to disagree with those who are notsupporting the American system?"
Snelgrove says they got the idea after going on acruise to Key Westand sawsimilar shirts. The shirts are selling for$35 and Snelgrove says she's been mailing them all over the world.
"It's not racist. It's immigrants - illegal immigrants. It was just a t-shirt. Just a t-shirt," said Snelgrove.
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