Burrito chain urged to drop ‘illegal’ from name

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Some people are urging the Colorado burrito chain Illegal Pete’s to change its name because of the way the word “illegal” has been used to describe immigrants.

The Coloradan reports that about 30 people gathered in Fort Collins Wednesday to ask owner Pete Turner to change the name of the chain, which is about to open an outlet there.

It’s part of a bigger campaign nationally against what critics refer to as the “I-word.” They think using the word to describe a person is dehumanizing.

Turner said the name is a reference to novel he read in college and the “Pete” part refers to his name and his father’s. He told the crowd that he is committed to an “inclusive” business and has helped pay for some employees to become citizens.

“This is all very near and dear to me,” he said.

But those at the meeting likened the name to a racial slur used against African-Americans or hanging a Confederate flag in the restaurant’s window.

“Social context is hugely important,” Fort Collins immigration attorney and meeting moderator Kim Medina said. “We’ll never get to big issues, such as immigration reform, until we can solve these smaller issues of language.”

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