Muslim detainees at ICE in Florida have been repeatedly served pork or pork-based meals, which goes against their religious beliefs, according to legal and civil rights advocates.
The groups claim that Muslim detainees at the Krome detention facility in Miami have been forced to accept pork because the “religiously compliant or halal meals that ICE has served have been persistently rotten and expired.”
According to Muslim Advocates and Americans for Immigration Justice, expired halal meals have been a problem for two years, and the situation for the detainees at the facility worsened by the ongoing pandemic.
In one case, the chaplain at Krome’s ignored requests from the Muslim detainees for help, saying, “It is what it is,” Nimra Azmi, a staff attorney for Muslim Advocates said in a CNN report.
Before, detainees can choose their own meals in the cafeteria, and were able to avoid pork if the halal meals were spoiled.
However, since the pandemic began, the facility has been serving pre-portioned and pre-plated meals.This change has meant that detainees either had to choose between a spoiled halal meal or a meal with pork.
“The detainees are frustrated, rightfully so, that something as simple as being able to get meals that are edible for them and religiously compliant for them are not being attended to,” Azmi said.
“I think that they particularly feel that they’re just being ignored, that ICE is being dismissive, that nobody cares.Azmi added that she reviewed notes and letters from the detainees describing the conditions inside the facility.”
According to an agency official, ICE is investigating the specific allegations raised in the letter.
“ICE’s Performance Based National Detention Standards cover all aspects of detention, to include reasonable accommodation of religious dietary practices. Any claim that ICE denies reasonable and equitable opportunity for persons to observe their religious dietary practices is false,” a spokesperson told CNN.
ICE has previously been accused of violating on religious liberties of its detainees.