Things That Matter

A Taco Truck Apologized For Serving ICE Employees At A Detention Center But Then Walked Back Their Apology

A popular taco truck in Buffalo, New York issued an apology to apologize for their previous apology about serving ICE workers. Lloyd Taco came under fire when they served Chorizo Mackin’ Cheese and Aztec Brownies to workers from a federal immigration detention center in Batavia. 

After outrage on social media, the truck owners apologized for serving the ICE employees. Then conservatives began a new outrage cycle accusing the regional chain of not being patriotic and disrespecting law enforcement. Lloyd Taco held a press conference to issue a second apology. 

Lloyd Taco apologizes for serving workers at a Batavia ICE detention center.

Co-owners Pete Cimino and Chris Dorsaneo posted an apology on social media, saying it was a “poor choice” to serve ICE workers and that they would donate proceeds to Justice for Migrant Families WNY. 

“Lloyd has deep ties to the immigrant and refugee communities in Buffalo,” the owners said in a statement. “There is no excuse for what happened and we have already begun to update our internal procedures to ensure future truck stops and events align with company’s values… we are donating all of the sales from yesterdays service to Justice for Migrant Families WNY.”  

However, after their apology went viral the company began to receive harsh criticism from people who support putting human beings in inhumane conditions to score political points. 

Immigrant advocates say the Batavia ICE detention center reportedly has poor conditions.

Complete statement:Feed Immigrant Justice not Immigrant Detention: Justice for Migrant Families WNY Responds to…

Posted by Justice For Migrant Families on Thursday, October 24, 2019

The detention center in Batavia, NY where Cimino and Dorsaneo served food is known for its horrible conditions. Justice Migrant Families WNY issued a statement about the facility. 

“People who are detained in Batavia regularly report that they receive insufficient food portions that have to be supplemented by buying food from the facility,'” Carra Statton, co-founder of Justice for Migrant Families WNY, said in a statement.

According to another comment on Facebook, Justice Migrant Families has no idea if they can expect a donation now. 

“At this point, we’re not even sure whether or not we will be receiving that donation. We haven’t heard from them since they issued their initial statement. As you know, they have now apologized for their apology,” the organization wrote

Conservatives criticize Lloyd Taco for supporting immigrants.

“Feeding working Americans who are just doing their job – Americans who specifically and with good intentions requested your product and services due to their admiration of said product and services.  And you choose to dis and turn your back on them? I’m done with Lloyds,” one person wrote in response to the apology. 

Many conservatives were quick to basically call for a boycott of the taco truck business.

“I’m sorry too that I can no longer support a business that disrespects federal employees doing their job. It’s been fun, but  I respect and support law enforcement and won’t be associated with any business who disrespects them,” another user wrote. “I respect and support law enforcement and won’t be associated with any business who disrespects them.”

ICE issues statement regarding Lloyd Taco’s apology. 

“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,” ICE field office director Thomas Feeley said in a 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.”

Lloyd Taco apologizes for apologizing following second backlash. 

The owners held a news conference to apologize for their apology yesterday. Cimino insisted that the company was not political. 

“We make tacos, not war,” Cimino said repeatedly during the conference. “We serve all communities. We go to all neighborhoods. We are not political. Why would we be? How can any business choose sides in our politically divided country and ever hope to succeed?”

When Cimino was asked if the company would serve the facility again he said, “I don’t want to answer hypotheticals.” 

The co-owners also maintained that they were big fans of law enforcement and military personnel. Since the company’s founding in 2010, Lloyd Taco has given a 50 percent discount to all uniformed first responders and military personnel. 

“We’re big fans of the police – we’ve always been,” Cimino said.

The company said it would not choose a side in the immigration policy debate. The executive director Jennifer Connor said the group stands by its original statement — despite holding a press conference to apologize for it. 

“Our position has not changed. We are here to prioritize the needs of immigrant families in our community and in detention,” Connor said in a statement. “Though the events of the past week have drawn fire from all sides, we stand by the fact that the state of immigrant detention itself is an outrage.”

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Biden Nominates Texas Sheriff Ed Gonzalez To Lead ICE And Here’s Why That Matters

Things That Matter

Biden Nominates Texas Sheriff Ed Gonzalez To Lead ICE And Here’s Why That Matters

For years now, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been enforcing cruel and, in many opinions, illegal immigration policies that have affected the most vulnerable among us. And they’ve been doing it without a permanent leader who can be held accountable.

The Trump administration relied on interim leaders and deputy secretaries to head the sprawling and powerful agency. Now, President Biden has nominated a frequent outspoken Trump critic to lead the agency and many are hopeful there could be real change.

The White House has nominated Texas sheriff Ed Gonzalez to lead ICE.

President Joe Biden has nominated a Texas sheriff, Ed Gonzalez, to lead ICE. Gonzalez has been the sheriff of Harris County (parts of Houston, TX) since 2017, leading the state’s largest sheriffs department. He has led a team of 5,000 employees in the position and previously served 18 years with the Houston Police Department, rising to the rank of sergeant, according to his profile on his office’s website.

Gonzalez has also been a vocal critic of elements of former President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement policies.

Gonzalez is the second such critic to be selected by Biden for a senior position in the Department of Homeland Security, following the nomination two weeks ago of Tucson, AZ., Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Gonzalez has long been a voice of reason within law enforcement leading many to be hopeful for change.

During his first term as sheriff Gonzalez ended a program with ICE that trained 10 Harris County deputies to determine the immigration status of prisoners, and hold for deportation those in the country illegally.

As sheriff he also opposed Texas legislation requiring local law enforcement to determine individuals’ immigration status, according to The Texas Tribune. The legislation was viewed as targeting so-called “sanctuary cities.” Gonzalez, like many in law enforcement, said the approach would destroy trust and make their job protecting communities more difficult.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas praised Biden’s pick in a statement Tuesday.

“Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is a strong choice for ICE Director,” Mayorkas said. “With a distinguished career in law enforcement and public service, Sheriff Gonzalez is well-suited to lead ICE as the agency advances our public safety and homeland security mission. I hope the Senate will swiftly confirm Sheriff Gonzalez to this critical position.”

ICE has long been missing a permanent director to lead the agency.

Gonzales would succeed Tae Johnson, who has been serving as acting ICE director since Jan. 13. He previously served as the agency’s deputy director.

ICE has not had a permanent director since 2017. The agency operated with five acting directors under the Trump administration. This comes as the Biden administration has faced challenges at the border, including a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S.

The announcement of Gonzalez’s nomination comes on the heels of another major announcement from DHS. Mayorkas also announced Tuesday that he has directed ICE and Customs and Border Protection to place new limits on civil immigration enforcement actions in or near courthouses.

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Tate’s Cookies Threatened to Report Undocumented Workers to ICE If They Unionized

Culture

Tate’s Cookies Threatened to Report Undocumented Workers to ICE If They Unionized

Photo via chocolleto/Instagram

Fans of the crispy, buttery Tate’s cookies might be sad when they hear this news. According to current employees, the popular cookie business has been threatening employees who are trying to unionize.

According to multiple employees, Tate’s cookies threatened to contact ICE if workers vote to unionize next month.

According to Gothamist, most of Tate Bake Shop’s 432 employees are undocumented workers. But the National Labor Relations Act says that undocumented workers have a lawful right to unionize.

The powerhouse baked goods company Mondelēz International owns Tate’s cookies. Additionally, Mondelēz owns other popular brands like Oreo and Chips Ahoy. Local union leaders have called the company “anti-union on steroids”.

Once Tate’s cookies heard rumblings of their workers unionizing, however, they hired an anti-labor consultant. The consultant, Carlos Flores, brags on LinkedIn about keeping businesses “labor free”.

“They began threatening people based on their immigration status, telling them that if their documents are not in order and they attempted to join the labor union they would get deported,” said Eastern States’ Union president, Cosmo Lubrano.

The consultant allegedly told workers that he would review their documentation to see if “everything was in order”. If it wasn’t, he said ICE might “send them back”.

“Just because a worker wants to organize, wants to have representation doesn’t mean a company should make their life miserable,” said Julio, an undocumented worker, to The New York Times.

Tate’s cookies employees only began to discuss the possibility of unionizing when the pandemic hit. Workers felt that the cookie company might not protect them should they fall ill.

“We were in the heart of the pandemic at that time and they didn’t know any of the rules that applied to them,” said Anthony Miranti, an Eastern States’ union delegate.

“Will they get paid if they have to self-quarantine? How do they get safety equipment? They were telling us about how they’re all at minimum wage and needed more paid time off and there was just nobody to listen to their problems.”

Officially, Mondelēz denies all claims or threatening workers. They released a statement saying: “Any allegation that the company has violated any aspect of the National Labor Relations Act is untrue. Tate’s prides itself on treating all its employees with respect, and we have fostered over many years an inclusive, supportive, caring work environment and culture with our employees.”

Despite the threats to their livelihood, many workers still believe unionizing will ultimately be beneficial.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of people who work in union shops. They say things are better,” said an undocumented worker by the name of Catalina to the New York Times. “Why not give this an opportunity?”

As Miranti says, “I think the workers that produce these products should be able to put their heads down on their pillows at night and know their job is secured, that their family has the best coverage out there, that they’ll have a pension to retire on someday.”

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