The co-owners of a New York taco truck company are walking back an apology they made last week amid criticism for serving lunch to Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees.
The Buffalo-based Lloyd taco truck company sparked a wave of backlash after they served lunch outside a federal immigrant detention facility in Batavia on Wednesday. The co-owners initially responded by apologizing, calling it an “honest mistake.”
“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 our company’s values,” the company’s original statement read, a local ABC affiliate reported. “As part of our efforts to make amends and learn from this experience, we are donating all the sales from yesterday’s service to Justice for Migrant Families WNY.”
ICE fired back in a statement, accusing the company of discriminating against federal workers.
“We are doing our jobs, enforcing the laws passed by Congress,” said Thomas Feeley, the Buffalo field office director for ICE. “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.”
On Monday, the Lloyd co-owners held a news conference essentially retracting their apology, saying they reacted hastily to the criticism and didn’t mean to make a political statement.
“We make tacos, not war,” co-owner Pete Cimino told reporters. “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?
“Chris and I want to fully and sincerely apologize for our past statement after our truck’s visit to the federal detention center in Batavia last Wednesday,” he continued. “Our statement was hasty, and we reacted too quickly to criticism we received.”
Mr. Cimino said his company, which has four trucks and employs about 130 people, has suffered over the controversy. He said three truck events have been canceled and their Facebook page has racked up thousands of comments, “90% of which were mad at us from both sides of the political spectrum.”
“Honestly, we were not prepared for the anger directed at us, it was surprising and demoralizing,” he said.
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