Restaurant faces backlash for stance on immigration

The store closed to participate in A Day Without Immigrants.

OCONEE COUNTY, Ga. — A restaurant in Oconee County is facing backlash after a protest on immigration.

La Parilla in Watkinsville closed Thursday to participate in A Day Without Immigrants, which was meant to show the impact immigrants have on the economy.

When workers returned Friday, they found hate-filled messages on the front door.

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Jennifer Hadden stopped by for dinner on Thursday and saw the sign on the door saying the restaurant was closed. She also saw the angry responses written on the sign and snapped a photo.

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Scribbled on the sign was a swastika and phrases like “You just got your last peso from me” and “Build the wall.”

“I hope the people that did put that just choose not to come back,” Hadden said.

The restaurant manager said he closed in order to show what the immigrants who work for him mean to the country.

“We didn’t really expect that reaction,” Hector Ibanez said. “It’s sad that people think that kind of thing about us, but it’s part of this country. It’s free speech.”

Customers who support President Trump’s immigration policies said the messages went too far.

“I thinks its mighty little of the people that did it,” Lemuel Verner said.

By Friday night, the hateful messages were replaced with customers’ messages of love.

“I think it’s wonderful. We love them,” Ibanez said.