Tlaib: Investigate whether ICE fed Muslim detainees pork

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Three Muslim Democratic House members including Detroit's U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, sent a letter Monday to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that called for a probe into allegations that ICE fed detainees pork in violation of their religious beliefs.

The letter, written by Tlaib and U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Andre Carson of Indiana said Muslim ICE detainees at the Krome detention facility in Miami were reportedly forced to choose between eating pork or eating rotten halal food. The three representatives are Muslim.

In this July 15, 2019, file photo, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., right, speaks, as U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, listens during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington.

The letter claimed that "this follows a long line of allegations of ICE violations of their own protocols regarding religious accommodations for detainees, which has included denial of kosher meals to Jewish detainees, and violations against Hindu and Catholic detainees."

ICE has a policy of trying to meet requests for religious dietary practices within budget limits and security concerns on a case-by-case basis. ICE said last week it is investigating the allegations that were first raised by Muslim Advocates and Americans for Immigration Justice.

"ICE's Performance Based National Detention Standards cover all aspects of detention to include reasonable accommodation of religious dietary practices," ICE spokesman Nestor Yglesias said in a statement. "Any claim that ICE denies reasonable and equitable opportunity for persons to observe their religious dietary practices is false."

Tlaib said this latest allegation is "one more in a long line of acts of gross dehumanization our immigrant neighbors by the Trump administration.”

"Federal officials must not be allowed to carry out the hate agenda of this president with impunity," she said. "Those subjected to this abuse deserve justice and I am proud to join my colleagues in demanding it, as well as working to ensure no other is subjected to it again."

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