Owner of Beloved Immigrant Food Truck in Texas Faces Almost Certain Deportation

Piro’s Taco Truck is a street eats mainstay in Houston, but owner Piro Garcia was taken away by ICE forces a month ago

“[Piro] has worked hard. He's a tax-paying member of our community,” local attorney Debra Catlett said.

Until recently, if you wanted authentic and appropriately greasy street tacos in Houston, almost any local knew where to go: Piro’s. Piro Garcia, beloved owner of two taco trucks in Houston, emigrated more than 20 years ago from Guatemala to the United States. Garcia started out as a restaurant line cook and eventually started his own food truck business, making tacos, burritos, and gorditas for hungry lunch crowds with his wife, Rosie. That all changed four weeks ago when he was abruptly picked up by ICE officials and arrested on the spot. He now awaits certain deportation in a detention center in Houston, according to NPR.

Garcia does not have a spotless criminal record — he has been arrested previously for misdemeanor assault, trespassing, and having a fake vehicle-inspection sticker — but ICE nabbed him on an old deportation order. He is one of many immigrants being arrested by officials after President Trump passed new deportation rules that allow ICE officials to go after immigrants with criminal records more aggressively than before.

"We are focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities,” Houston ICE told NPR in a statement.

Garcia’s community is not giving up their beloved taco salesman without a fight, however. His longtime attorney, Debra Catlett, started a GoFundMe fundraiser called Free Piro! The effort has already raised more than $8,000 in two weeks.

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“I have known Piro and his wife Rosie for many years,” Layne Sullivan, a taco fan and community advocate, commented on the fundraiser page. “They are honest and hardworking people that are well loved by the community. This horrible incident has left many uncared for.”