MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Eight people were arrested during a sit-in at noon Thursday at the Chipotle restaurant on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.
The group was part of dozens of protestors who picketed and marched in response to the abrupt firing of several hundred Chipotle workers after a federal immigration audit last month.
“Our message is, you can’t sell Mexican food and Mexican culture and sell out Mexican workers,” said protest spokesman Greg Nammacher.
The protestors included fired workers and their supporters. Maria Cortez lost her job at the Lake Calhoun Chipotle. Through a translator, Cortez said she wants answers.
“The people are telling Chipotle to tell them the truth, why they got fired,” said Cortez.
The protest was peaceful but police say buses were rerouted for about 10 minutes. Officers said their biggest concern was the potential for the protestors getting frostbite while they marched in the chilly temperatures.
A spokesman for Chipotle, Chris Arnold, released a statement in response to the protest, which is the second one in a month.
“We agree that current immigration laws are flawed and believe they put employers in an untenable position. But we cannot employ anyone once we learn that they are not legally eligible to work in the country. This is a heartbreaking situation for us, but we must follow the law,” Arnold said.
Click here for the full statement from Arnold and additional background on this situation.