ICE Chaplain’s Dismissive Response to Immigration Detainees’ Complaints: “It is what it is.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Muslim Advocates, Americans for Immigrant Justice and the law firm King & Spalding LLP sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) demanding that the agencies immediately stop forcing Muslim detainees to choose between eating pork or rotten halal meat.
- Click here to read the letter
- Click here to see a photo provided to us by a Krome detainee of labels for halal food that expired August 2017 and was served in December 2017
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the ICE-run Krome Service Processing Center in Miami, Florida has been serving detainees pre-plated meals that regularly include pork sausage, pork ribs and other dishes containing pork to Muslim detainees. Because the facility’s halal meals have been persistently served spoiled and expired, Krome’s Muslim detainees must choose between eating pork or eating spoiled food. Even though Muslim detainees have suffered stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea from the spoiled meals, ICE officials at Krome have repeatedly ignored their pleas for edible, religiously compliant food. Outrageously, in response to the detainees’ requests for help, the facility’s chaplain callously said, “It is what it is.”
The letter sent to ICE and DHS demands that Muslim immigration detainees at all ICE facilities get immediate access to non-rotten edible food that does not violate their faith.
“Although ICE officers at Krome have long been aware of the Muslim detainees’ faith-based dietary restrictions, they are nonetheless regularly serving Muslim detainees pre-plated pork sausage, pork ribs, and other pork-based ingredients during the pandemic. At least 2-3 times a week, the pre-plated meals unambiguously include pork. Consequently, 2-3 times a week, Muslim detainees at Krome are forced to choose between faith and food,” stated the letter. “There is no reason, even in a pandemic, that Muslim detainees cannot receive unexpired, unspoiled halal meals, or, at the very least, pre-plated meals that do not require them to consume pork.”
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Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.
Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) is an award-winning non-profit law firm that protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants. In Florida and on a national level, it champions the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocates for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serves as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; and speaks for immigrant groups who have particular and compelling claims to justice.