New York pizza delivery man given emergency stay after being detained by ICE agents for deportation
Villavicencio, who is an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador, was detained on June 1 at the Fort Hamilton base in Brooklyn after he delivered a pizza from a restaurant
A federal court in New York temporarily blocked the deportation of the pizza delivery man one week after he was turned over the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents while delivering food at a nearby Army base.
However, despite the emergency stay, 35-year-old Pablo Villavicencio will continue to remain in ICE custody but will be kept from deportation until July 20, according to reports.
Villavicencio, who is an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador, was detained on June 1 at the Fort Hamilton base in Brooklyn after he delivered a pizza from a restaurant he worked for in Queens.
The man was reportedly separated from his family and was locked in a detention facility in New Jersey and was awaiting deportation.
Villavicencio's wife Sandra Chica, who is a US citizen, while talking to the publication El Dario, said that her husband had delivered pizza to the Army base before where he presented a New York City identification card to a guard there. However, when he was delivering the order this time, a military police officer demanded a driver's license from him, which Villavicencio did not have.
Chica said that her husband of five years was informed that he will be deported to Ecuador next week.
An organization which provides legal assistance to those in poverty, the Legal Aid Society, in a statement on Saturday said that their attorneys found out that Villavicencio's deportation was imminent so they worked throughout the night in an attempt to prepare an emergency stay request for him, according to CNN.
The legal assistance provider, in a statement, said: "This stay will allow him to pursue a meritorious form of relief from removal -- adjustment of status for permanent residency — to remain with his family."
The supervising attorney of the Immigration Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society, Gregory Copeland, said that the emergency stay order is a victory for Villavicencio and his family and for "due process and the fair administration of justice."
"This decision is also a reminder that the judiciary can still serve as a powerful check when other branches of government make hasty, cruel and reckless decisions," Copeland said.
ICE spokesperson, Rachel Yong Yow, in a statement to HuffPost, said, "Pablo Villavicencio is an illegally present citizen and national of Ecuador. In March 2010, he was granted voluntary departure by an immigration judge but failed to depart by July 2010 as ordered. As such, his voluntary departure order became a final order of removal and is an ICE fugitive. He remains in ICE custody pending removal.”
Chica said that Villavicencio had applied for a green card in February. They have two young children who are both citizens of the United States. Chica added that Villavicencio has been the US for nearly a decade.
The incident sparked outrage among many in the region. Even the President of Brooklyn Borough, Eric Adams, called the incident "unimaginable" considering the immigrants in NY were told they would not be harassed as New York is a sanctuary city.
Shortly after Villavicencio's detention, the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs released a statement promising to investigate his case.
The office in a statement said: "Overbroad enforcement against immigrant New Yorkers does nothing to make us safer. We are disturbed by these reports and looking into this situation."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in response to Villavicencio's arrest, reportedly wrote two letters to high-ranking officials calling for an investigation into ICE and the man's release from detention.
"New York will not sit on the sidelines as our immigrant communities are threatened," Cuomo wrote, according to CNN.
"The pattern of conduct demonstrated by ICE agents shows reckless contempt for the Constitution and runs counter to the agency's stated mission as well as federal and state law. I call on your office to immediately investigate ICE tactics and ensure the rights of New Yorkers are being protected," the governor added.