Taco truck owners apologize for apologizing for serving ICE workers at detention facility


The co-founders of a Buffalo-area taco truck company apologized at a news conference Monday for their first response to criticism they received for serving lunch at a federal migrant detention facility in New York.

“Chris and I want to fully and sincerely apologize for our past statement after our truck’s visit to the federal detention facility in Batavia last week. Our statement was hastily made, and we reacted too quickly to criticism we received for that visit,” Lloyd founder Pete Cimino said at the news conference. The company is known for its large burritos and neon green trucks, according to WIVB4.

Lloyd was first criticized earlier this month for serving lunch at the federal detention facility in Batavia, N.Y., calling the move “an honest mistake” in a tweet.

{mosads} “Lloyd has deep ties to the immigrant and refugee communities in Buffalo. We work closely with Jericho Road and the International Institute of Buffalo as part of our hiring and recruitment efforts, and every year we look forward to participating in their Buffalo Without Borders fundraiser,” the company tweeted. It also said it was donating one day’s proceeds to Justice for Migrant Families WNY, a local migrant group. 

But the company also drew pushback for that statement. State Sen. Rob Ortt (R) issued his own comment saying “In what world does a company feel the need to apologize for serving food to federal law enforcement officers who work in dangerous conditions? Pathetic pandering,” WIVB4 reported.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement also put out a statement, accusing the food truck of “discriminating” against facility employees after the company made its initial statement.  

“The men and women who work at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility are Detention Officers, Deportation Officers, administrative support staff, Doctors, Nurses, Judges, Attorneys, and maintenance staff. Each and every one of them is entrusted with the safety, security, and care of the detainees here. Almost 50% of the staff are Veterans. Families are not detained here nor has any child been here. Further, an overwhelming percentage of the detainees detained at this facility are criminal aliens, meaning, they continued to commit more crimes after illegally entering the United States,” ICE field office Director Thomas Feeley said in a statement to WIVB4.

“We are doing our jobs, enforcing the laws passed by Congress. Just like we have for many Presidents. We will not apologize for doing this, not even to a food truck that now chooses to discriminate against us,” he continued. 

Cimino said the company received more than 5,000 negative Facebook comments and three canceled truck visits. He attributed the strong reactions to their decision to serve lunch at the center, as well as their first response, to the current “divisive times,” according to WIVB. 

“People get emotional and feel strongly about issues like immigration policy, and social media magnifies those emotions, but we make lunch and dinner, not policy,” Cimino said. “We support all our communities.”

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