An immigration detention center in Florida has reportedly been consistently feeding Muslim detainees pre-packaged pork meals and expired halal food.
Forbes reports that civil rights lawyers sent a letter to ICE to address the situation at Krome Service Processing Center, where detainees have been forced to choose between their faith or go without food. The letter accuses the facility of feeding Muslim detainees spoiled halal meals for over two years, which made a lot of them sick. It has also been alleged that when staff at the facility were asked for help in sticking to their religious dietary needs, they were told by the chaplain "it is what it is."
"ICE officers at Krome have repeatedly served pork or pork-based products to Muslim detainees, contrary to the detainees’ sincerely held religious belief that they are forbidden from consuming pork," the letter from Muslim Advocates and Americans for Immigrant Justice read. "ICE and DHS must immediately address this unlawful pattern of religious discrimination to ensure that no detainee at Krome or any other ICE facility across the United States is forced to choose between their faith and starvation."
ICE has denied the allegations, but the lawyers have provided a photocopy of one of the spoiled meals detainees were fed. In the picture, the meals appear to have expired in Aug. 2017, but they were served to individuals in Dec. 2017. "In the face of the Krome staff’s indifference and inaction, Muslim detainees are left with three choices during this pandemic: eat meals that contain pork, eat meals that are spoiled, or eat nothing at all,” the letter read. “Consequently, Muslim detainees have been forced to choose between their sincere religious beliefs and their health. Many have suffered illness, like stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea, as a result."
The civil rights organizations involved have deduced that ICE is violating the First Amendment and Religious Freed Restoration Act rights of the Muslims at the facility. As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out on Twitter, this is just the latest example of ICE violating the rights of detainees. In 2019, a Muslim man detained at a Texas Border Patrol detention facility was fed pork for six consecutive days.