Buffalo, NY – The co-founders of a widely-popular food truck business held a press conference on Monday to apologize for the earlier apology they made about regretting their decision to serve food to employees at the Federal Detention Facility in Batavia.
The controversy surrounding Lloyd Taco has been swirling since Oct. 23, when the company catered a lunch at the federal facility, which holds illegal aliens, The Buffalo News reported.
The routine business move prompted immediate backlash from those who disagreed with the food truck providing food to employees who work at the facility.
“That’s a bad, bad look Lloyd. You want to support ICE?!” one Twitter user asked, according to The Buffalo News.
Others referred to the company as “government bootlickers,” and many vowed to stop patronizing Lloyd’s in the future, The Washington Post reported.
The food truck business issued an apology on Twitter the following day.
“We’re sorry, Buffalo,” the company wrote. “You deserve better.”
Lloyd said it received a request to serve at the Batavia facility several weeks prior, and that it processed the request through it’s “standard intake procedure.”
“Typically, that process helps us make business decisions we are proud of. Unfortunately, in this case it did the opposite,” the post read.
The company touted its involvement with local immigration programs, and said there was “no excuse” for their “lapse in judgement.”
“We have already begun to update our internal procedures to ensure future truck stops and events alight with our company’s values,” Lloyd’s statement read. “As part of our efforts to make amends and learn from this experience, we are donating all of the sales from yesterday’s service to Justice for Migrant Families WNY.”
The company vowed to do more to help illegal immigrants in the future.
“We know that words cannot change the past and a donation doesn’t make up for our lapse in judgement. Only time and future actions can show our commitment to being a more thoughtful company,” the post read. “Today, we begin that journey.”
Lloyd’s public apology was met with some praise, but also garnered an angry response from the public, The Washington Post reported.
Republican State Senator Rob Ortt blasted the company’s apology on Twitter.
“In what world does a company feel the need to apologize for serving food to federal law enforcement officers who work in dangerous conditions?” Ortt wrote. “Pathetic pandering. The men and women who work to enforce our immigration laws and protect us deserve better.”
Others denounced the company for caving to “misguided leftwing extremists,” while some accused the business of “siding with law breakers,” The Washington Post reported.
“Moderates like my family, once enjoyed your food, but we will never buy from you ever again for your traitorous Anti American Anti Law stance,” one of the 5,000 critical responses read.
In a statement on Oct. 24, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Buffalo Field Office Director Thomas Feeley pointed out that families and children are not held at the Batavia facility, The Buffalo News reported.
Director Feeley noted that most of those held at the facility are “criminal aliens” who went on to commit new offenses in the U.S. after they illegally crossed the border.
“We are doing our jobs, enforcing the laws passed by Congress. Just like we have for many presidents,” the director wrote. “We will not apologize for doing this, not even to a food truck that now chooses to discriminate against us.”
“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,” Director Feeley’s statement read, according to WIVB. “Each and every one of them is entrusted with the safety, security, and care of the detainees here.”
Nearly 50 percent of the Batavia staff are military veterans, he added.
Lloyd Taco experienced at least three scheduled truck stop cancellations in the wake of the controversy, The Washington Post reported.
On Monday, the Lloyd Taco co-founders held a press conference to apologize for their initially apology, WIVB reported.
“Chris [Dorsaneo] 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,” co-founder Pete Cimino told reporters. “Our statement was hasty, and we reacted too quickly to criticism we received.”
Cimino said that Lloyd Taco supports everyone in the community they serve.
“We live in divisive times,” he said. “People get emotional and feel strongly about issues like immigration policy, and social media only magnifies those emotions, but we make lunch and dinner, not policy.”
Cimino said that his company “makes tacos, not war,” and that they are “not political.”
He also noted that Lloyd Taco has offered customers in uniform a 50 percent discount since the company was launched in 2010.
“We are so proud of those who serve, and always will be,” Cimino said. “We’re big fans of the police – we’ve always been. We’ve supported lots of their causes.”
Cimino said he wanted first responders to know that the company was sorry for their initial statement.
“We’re human. We make mistakes,” he said. “We love those guys, and they know it. They’re in here all the time.”
He added that it would be “putting it lightly” to call the incident a “learning experience.”