Woman Threatens to Call ICE on Latina Food Vendor in Texas

Video of a Texas woman threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the operator of a taco truck has gone viral. Claudia Lopez, who owns and operates a taco truck in Dallas, posted a video on Thursday of an argument she had with another woman. The YouTube video is titled, “Racist woman talking about how she gonna call ICE ON US FOR SELLING FOOD IN DALLAS WHEN WE HAVE A PERMIT.”

In the video, someone off camera is heard agreeing to move the truck while a white woman who is visible in the video walks back toward her house. The woman then turns toward the truck, holding her phone up. An additional woman, who is not seen in the video, is heard speaking Spanish to the first unidentified woman; the woman standing outside the taco truck then threatened to call immigration officials. “Okay, baby girl. Vámonos,” said the woman to Lopez. “I’ll call ICE.”

Lopez then challenges the unidentified woman. “I’m not your baby girl,” Lopez said. “Okay, call ICE. Call them. Okay? You can call them. Call them right now.” The video ends with the woman who threatened Lopez walking to her house with her phone still held up. As the video went viral, Twitter users dubbed the unidentified woman “Taco Truck Tammy,” the Austin-Statesman reported. The video has over 65,000 views on YouTube as of last Wednesday.

The white woman in the video has been identified by KXAS-TV as “Valerie.” She told the news station she was cleaning her house to show to a prospective buyer when she heard a honking noise outside. She claims Lopez’s truck was parked outside of her home, near a construction site.

“I walked out and said, 'You guys cannot be here. This is a residential area.' And they immediately attacked me, 'Get back in your house, bitch or we will kick your ass.' And I'm like, 'Seriously?'” Valerie told the news station. Valerie told KXAS that Lopez began recording after the above interaction took place. She apologized for her actions in the video, and said she regrets threatening the taco truck workers.

“It was just a moment of a very bad choice of words,” she told KXAS. “It was a flippant comment. It doesn't really reflect who I am. It reflects my frustration.” The North Star reached out to Lopez for comment on the incident but did not hear back in time for publication.

It remains unclear whether Valerie actually called ICE on Lopez, though the threat is still worrisome. In 2018, ICE deported more than 256,000 people, an increase of about 13 percent from the year prior, The Washington Post reported.

The agency deported 145,262 people who were reportedly convicted criminals, 22,796 people who had pending criminal charges, and 5,872 people were known or suspected gang members, according to the Post. The report stated that the number of families and unaccompanied children also increased; 2,711 people traveling in families and 5,571 unaccompanied children were deported last year.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said he had no plans to reinstate the controversial policy of separating migrant children from their families who entered the US illegally. He suggested that the policy dissuades others from crossing the border, according to USA Today.

“I'll tell you something, once you don't have it, that's why you have many more people coming,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday, according to the publication. “They are coming like it's a picnic, like 'let's go to Disneyland.'”

This is not the first viral video where a white woman threatened to call the authorities on a person of color who was engaged in non-criminal activity. Jennifer Schulte was given the nickname “BBQ Becky” after a 2018 video showed her calling the police on two Black men grilling at a park in Oakland, California, The Huffington Post reported. The woman called 911, stating that the men were using a portable charcoal grill in an area that only permitted non-charcoal portable grills.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.