Food Truck Feeding ICE Personnel Faces Backlash: ‘We Make Tacos Not War’

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 16: Demonstrators march through downtown calling for the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on August 16, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators were also calling for defunding local police. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images

A food truck that serves Mexican food became the target of both supporters and critics of the men and women tasked with enforcing U.S. immigration law after it served ICE personnel working at a detention center in Buffalo, New York.

“We serve all communities, we go to all neighborhoods, we are not political,” one of the Lloyd trucks owner, Pete Cimino, said at a press conference on Monday. “Why would we be?”

“How can any business choose sides in our politically divided country and ever hope to succeed?” Cimino said. “We make tacos — not war.”

The New York Times covered the press conference: 

It seemed like a standard request for the Lloyd taco truck, a local favorite in Buffalo. Last week, a building on the outskirts of the city asked the truck to park outside around midday so its employees could have Mexican food for lunch.

But the building in Batavia, N.Y., was a federal detention center run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the hungry workers were mostly ICE employees.

Within hours, the small business, which serves “Tricked Out Nachos” and an “El Camino Bowl,” was plunged into the crosshairs of the rancorous national debate over immigration.

The Times reported that it was an “additional insult” that the truck was serving Mexican food outside of a building where some Latinos were likely housed.

“The company first apologized on Thursday for a ‘lapse in judgment’ in sending a truck to the detention center on the previous day and then promised to evaluate all future locations and events to ensure they aligned with its values,” the Times said. “Lloyd also pledged to donate the lunch profits to a local immigration advocacy organization.”

But the initial reaction sparked criticism from those who support law enforcement.

“In what world does a company feel the need to apologize for serving food to federal law enforcement officers who work in dangerous conditions?” Rob Ortt, a Republican state senator and congressional candidate, said on Twitter, according to the Times. “The men and women who work to enforce our immigration laws and protect us deserve better.”

“It’s a shame when small entrepreneurs get embroiled in something they are not giving a lot of thought to, when the big companies — Google, Facebook, drug companies — are always involved in this stuff,” Susan McCartney, director of the Small Business Development Center at SUNY Buffalo State, said in the Times report.

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