BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A group of demonstrators rallied outside of the immigration and customs office in Downtown Buffalo. They called for the release of 25 detained restaurant workers. Officials say the workers, who were detained earlier in the week, were undocumented – and are now facing criminal and immigration charges. In the long term, demonstrators say they also want to see nationwide immigration reform.
“So we are here to show that this is not about taco Tuesday, this is not about morning unlimited margaritas.”, said Emily Terrana, one of the participants at the rally. “This is about standing up for the dignity and respect and humanity of not only these 25 workers that were arrested but the 11 million people throughout this country that are living undocumented.”
Meghan Maloney de Zaldivar said, “We have to pass immigration reform, we’ve been fighting for immigration reform for years, and it has not happened, so that’s why this continuing limbo happens, is because our congress, and our federal government will not act.”
On Tuesday – federal agents raided 4 popular Mexican restaurants. Don Tequila and Agave in Buffalo, El Agave in Cheektowaga , La Divina in Kenmore.
25 people were arrested or detained and face criminal or immigration charges. Their owner is accused of harboring illegal aliens.
At Don Tequila on Allen Street, demonstrators there also called for the end of deportations of undocumented workers.
Patricia, a bartender at Don Tequila, said, “These aren’t bad hombres, these are hard-working family people, trying to provide for children, as i was trying to provide for my children, and i have had my means stripped from me, as an American citizen.”
So far, one of the restaurants, La Divina located in Kenmore, is scheduled to re-open on Friday. News 4 tried reaching out to the other 3 restaurants, but no one answered the phones, or the lines were disconnected.