Illinois gas station cashier to customer: ‘Go back to your country'

Protesters converged on store after incident

By David Williams, CNN

(CNN) - Protesters gathered for a second day outside an Illinois convenience store where a cashier challenged customers' citizenship and said that they were "in the wrong country" in a video that was posted online.

The group held signs and banners outside Bucky's Convenience Store in Naperville, Illinois, on Thursday and chanted "hate has no home here." The cashier, who has not been identified, no longer works at the store after the company investigated Tuesday's incident.

Carolina Buitron told CNN that her relatives were riding bicycles when one broke down near the store. Her 15-year-old cousin went in to buy snacks while they waited for help.

She says the cashier asked the girl about the immigration status of two of her cousins who were waiting outside. They were visiting from Mexico.

Buitron said she came to pick up the broken bike and went into the store, where her aunts confronted the clerk in an argument that was captured on videos that were shared widely on Facebook.

"It was pretty difficult, honestly. It hurt a lot," she told CNN.

Buitron, 20, said she is an American citizen.

"It's not what you expect when you come to this country," she said.

In one of the videos, the clerk asks, "Don't you know the rules? They need to go back to their country."

One of the women threatened to call police as the argument grew more intense.

"ICE will come," the cashier said. "You're in the wrong country."

The incident came just days after backlash over President Trump's tweets suggesting that a group of Democratic congresswomen "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

Buchanan Energy, which owns Bucky's, said in a statement Thursday that the employee no longer works for the company.

"Within the last few hours, a video was posted on social media displaying a Bucky's associate engaged in a confrontation with a customer. The comments of this associate are not reflective of the core values of Bucky's Convenience Stores. We are aware of the situation and are managing this personnel issue. We take this matter seriously and strive to ensure that all customers are treated with respect.

"After our internal investigation, (the) employee no longer works for the company."

CNN has attempted to identify the cashier to ask him for comment, but Buchanan Energy would not provide his information.

Buitron said she hasn't heard from the company.

Elizabeth Cervantes of the Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project helped organize the protests.

"I think racism has always been there, but this incident proves that the rhetoric around immigrants having to go back where they came from ... has become OK," she said. "The national rhetoric has made this OK at the local level, and we get to see it and experience it on a daily basis, and it's not OK. It really isn't."

Buitron said she appreciates the protesters' support.

"I think it's amazing that there's sweet people that take time out of their day to support a family that they don't even know."

Naperville Police said officers have reviewed the videos and are investigating the incident.

CNN's Chuck Johnston, Brad Parks, Bill Kirkos, Tracey Jordan and Eric Hall contributed to this report.

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