SAN DIEGO - A California businessman says he is getting death threats for fostering a family of undocumented immigrants from Guatemala.
Mark Lane owns Poppa's Fresh Fish Company in Logan Heights. He told WPTV's sister station 10News he does not have a position on the immigration crisis but he felt compelled to take a stand against the city of Murrieta when his 5-year-old son asked him why the buses carrying undocumented women and children were blocked.
"He asked me why the people were mad at the buses and I was like, it's 2014 … why do I have to explain to my 5-year-old why people are mad at the buses when really they're mad at the people inside of the buses 'cause they're brown," said Lane.
Lane heard through Border Angels that a family needed someone to host them. The mother, her teenage sons and her 23-year-old daughter fled Guatemala after gangs threatened to kill her sons for not joining their gang. The 23-year-old daughter was raped multiple times during their journey to the United States. The family says they had all of their belongings stolen from them while riding on top of a train through Mexico.
"When they came to our house, they were scared. We had two extra rooms, but they didn't want to be separated so they all piled into one room," said Lane.
He said when word spread through social media that he was hosting the family, someone posted a Facebook page boycotting his business and threatening him. One post read, "Mark Lane needs a serious beating in front of his customers. But then he serves crap food. His establishment is rat infested and smells like raw sewage!"
The site was taken down after a cease and desist order was sent to the administrator. The threats have not stopped, though.
"Now, we're getting death threats," said Lane. "They're going to kill me. They're going to kill my family."
He added, "They think it's OK for them to now threaten my life. They put my kids and my wife's picture on their hate sites, not even the mafia does that."
Immigrant advocate Enrique Morones connected Lane to the family. He says they are doing everything along with law enforcement to support the people who want to help.
"If you have issues with this issue, you should take it out at the ballot box," said Morones. "He's doing what this country is built on – give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses – he's done that."
The threats have been reported to police. Despite them, Lane says there are far more messages of support to keep him going.
"I'm not going to stop helping families," he said. "When this family leaves, the next family that comes through immigration – our house is open."
Lane says his business is booming despite some on social media were encouraging others to boycott his shop. He says that backfired because of all the national attention.