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.”

This Guatemalan Mom Was Separated From Her Son At The Border After Enduring A Gunshot To The Face

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This Guatemalan Mom Was Separated From Her Son At The Border After Enduring A Gunshot To The Face

@ajplus / Twitter

In an exclusive interview with People Magazine, a 32-year-old Guatemalan woman recounts her experience fleeing her home country in August 2017 after being shot in the face at a demonstration. Not only does the woman—who goes by the false name Daniella—describe the event that catalyzed her desire to leave Guatemala, but she tells of the many months spent traveling north, and the many months spent in a detention center after reaching the border, separated from her young son.

On August 9, 2017, Daniella and her son, Carlos, were leaving their family’s house when they encountered a large protest against a new measure that would require people to pay for water. At first the protest was peaceful—but then bullets started flying through the air. Daniella and Carlos were just passing through, but a bullet had caught Daniella in two parts of her body: the left arm, and right below the eye.

“I threw my arm around Carlos to protect him—he was covered in blood, and I started to panic,” she told People. “Little did I know that the one bleeding was me.”

Because of rampant corruption in that part of Guatemala, Daniella knew that the police wouldn’t come—they were told not to interfere. So vigilant were certain members of the demonstration that Daniella’s father received a threatening call before she even made it to a hospital. The caller told her father that if they filed a report, he would kill the whole family. Later she learned that the man who had shot her lived just three blocks away from her mother. Fortunately, when she made it to the hospital, her husband—who had moved the the U.S. five years earlier to find work, sent money for the expenses.

After more than a week in the hospital, both bullets remain in Daniella’s body to this day.

“The doctor said that if they were taken out, I could be left in a vegetative state, or I could die,” she said. “To this day I still feel pain.”

After this harrowing experience, Daniella decided that it was time to follow in her husband’s footsteps and flee to the U.S. She knew that the journey would be anything but easy, but she could have never guessed how nightmarish a month lay ahead. Traveling by truck and by bus, there were many nights spent on the side of the road. When they finally made it to the Arizona border, they were not dropped off at an immigration center, as she had expected. Instead, she and Carlos were told to climb a tree, then jump from the tree to the border wall. From there, they could reach the other side.

“I told Carlos, ‘Mijo, you have to jump.’ He was so afraid that he wouldn’t move,” she said. “I looked into my son’s eyes, and I said, ‘Son, please trust me. Everything’s going to be all right.’

After they had both made it safely to the other side, they took just a few steps before the Border Patrol arrived. They were taken into custody and dropped off at “La Hielera”—The Icebox. There, Daniella was forced to sign papers she didn’t understand, and the officer who was present told her that the children would be taken to a shelter, then given up for adoption. Naturally, all the mothers were desperately frightened by this news.

Before leaving for court that same day, Daniella said goodbye to Carlos, unsure if they would ever see each other again. She told People Magazine that she held her son and said: “You’re a champion, Papa, and you’re always going to be in my heart.”

The mothers were not immediately told the whereabouts of their children. But five months after being moved to Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, Daniella learned that Carlos was in a New Jersey foster home.

A few months later, Daniella had her official court hearing. Her bail was posted at $30,000, and after filing an appeal to extend the bail deadline, Daniella was released from custody. She had been detained for 11 months.

The organization Immigrant Families Together had gathered the money for Daniella’s bail, and they helped her get back on her feet by providing her with food and clean clothes. They also took her to the airport to fly to Virginia, where Carlos had relocated to live with his uncle, her brother.

Daniella’s story isn’t unique—roughly 30,000 people are detained in the U.S. on a given day, and these numbers have seen major upticks throughout 2019. What makes Daniella’s story remarkable is her reunion with Carlos. Many families who have been separated at the border are not nearly as lucky.

While she and Carlos continue to deal with the psychological trauma of this experience, Daniella is grateful and focused on the future.

“Without the assistance from all the people that helped me, I wouldn’t be free,” said Daniella. “Now my only focus is my family, my son, starting a new life here in California . . . I don’t have to worry about being shot again or putting my son’s life in danger.”

A Guatemalan Teen Died In Border Patrol Custody And Now Graphic New Video Shows His Last Hours

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A Guatemalan Teen Died In Border Patrol Custody And Now Graphic New Video Shows His Last Hours

Family of Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez

When 16-year-old Guatemalan Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez died six days after arriving at South Texas processing center, Customs and Border Protection released their version of events. Now, an uncovered ProPublica video reveals a different version. 

When Carlos died in May, acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner John Sanders said an agent found Carlos “unresponsive” after checking on him. However, ProPublica acquired a video of Carlos’ last hours that dispute he was provided with adequate healthcare. 

Carlos is the sixth migrant under 18 years old to die in federal custody under the Trump administration, according to the New York Times. Here’s what really happened.

Hours before he died, Carlos had a fever of 103 degrees, according to records.

The day before he died, a nurse instructed authorities to check on the 16-year-old in a couple of hours and said he should be taken to the emergency room if his sickness worsened. They did not follow the orders. Carlos was diagnosed with the flu, fearing he would contaminate other migrants agents moved into a quarantine cell. The next morning another sick boy in the cell found him dead.

The video shows that Carlos was visibly incredibly ill. It shows that the only way you couldn’t have noticed this teenage boy needed urgent care was if you were willfully ignoring him.

“The cellblock video shows Carlos writhing for at least 25 minutes on the floor and a concrete bench. It shows him staggering to the toilet and collapsing on the floor, where he remained in the same position for the next four and a half hours,” according to ProPublica. 

ProPublica referred to a Border Patrol “subject activity log” where it said an agent checked on him three times on the morning of his death but reported nothing out of the ordinary. The article suggests that “agent charged with monitoring him failed to perform adequate checks, if he even checked at all.” 

ProPublica believes the video disputes CBP’s account of Carlos’ death. 

The security video shows that it was Carlos’ cellmate who discovered his body, not any agents doing a welfare check, as CBP alleged in their press release. The video shows no welfare checks taking place at all. However, ProPublica discovered a four-hour gap of missing footage that coincides with the times an agent reported doing the welfare checks. CBP would not comment. A coroner heard secondhand that an agent may have checked by looking through the cell window. 

“On the video, the cellmate can be seen waking up and groggily walking to the toilet, where Carlos was lying in a pool of blood on the floor. He gestures for help at the cell door. Only then do agents enter the cell and discover that Carlos had died during the night,” ProPublica described. 

When ProPublica reporters asked Department of Homeland Security if cell footage of Carlos’ final hours were shown on the live video monitors, they would not comment. 

“While we cannot discuss specific information or details of this investigation, we can tell you that the Department of Homeland Security and this agency are looking into all aspects of this case to ensure all procedures were followed,” CBP spokesperson Matt Leas said.

Medical experts condemn the circumstances of the teenager’s death. 

“Why is a teenaged boy in a jail facility at all if he is sick with a transmissible illness? Why isn’t he at a hospital or at a home or clinic where he can get a warm bed, fluids, supervised attention and medical care? He is not a criminal,” said Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist that reviewed Carlos’ death records

The New York Times notes the tens of millions of dollars have been funneled into migrant healthcare, with medical practitioners near the southwestern border increasing over tenfold. However, an examination by the paper found that most Border Patrol facilities in the area are insufficient in their ability to asses migrant health, despite years of internal warnings on the matter. 

“Flu can progress rapidly, but it’s not like a heart attack. Even when fast, it worsens over a period of hours. There should have been signs that indicated he needed to go to the hospital,” Dr. Joshya Sharfstein, who works at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said.

Former commissioner Sanders has since resigned and expressed remorse over the situation blaming the largely Democratic Congress for being “unresponsive” — not necessarily the Trump administration for the problem, according to ProPublica

“I really think the American government failed these people. The government failed people like Carlos,” he said. “I was part of that system at a very high level, and Carlos’ death will follow me for the rest of my life.”

Carlos’ death was not entirely in vain. The loss of his life prompted new regulations for Border Patrol agents which require they physically enter the cells of sick detainees, conduct regular welfare checks, and take their temperatures.