On June 1st, Pablo Villavicencio, 32, was on a routine pizza delivery. He was required to deliver the food to Fort Hamilton military base in Brooklyn, New York. Upon entering the base, Villavicencio was asked for identification. When he could not present the identification that the officer asked for, Immigration and Customs Enforcement was called and Villavicencio was arrested.
According to New York City Council Member Justin Brannan, Villavicencio presented his New York City ID but the base staff requested more identification once he had entered the premises. Cathy SantoPietro. Spokesperson for Fort Hamiliton, said in a statement that ICE was called because Villavicencio tried to make a delivery “without valid Department of Defense identification.”
“Commanders are authorized to take reasonably necessary and lawful measures to maintain law and order and protect installation personnel and property,” the statement from SantoPietro concluded.
Villavicencio is an undocumented immigrant with a pending green card application. He has a wife, and two daughters, all whom are american citizens.
“In one day, your life changes. Now I’m alone with the kids — I need to give not only emotional support but economic support,” his wife Chica said at a press conference on Wednesday. “In one day, he’s not here, just because he doesn’t have the papers.”
According to ICE spokesperson Rachael Yong Yow, Villavicencio’s pending green card application does not protect him from deportation.
“That doesn’t affect whether or not he is removable,” Yong Yow said. “That case will remain pending even after removal, and if it’s approved while he’s out of the country he will be told as such and be able to come back.”
The arrest of Villavicencio has garnered widespread attention. Javier H. Valdés, co-director of Se Hace Camino Nueva York, an organization dedicated to helping immigrants, said, “We demand the immediate freedom of Pablo Villavicencio. At the same time, we require that on this basis perform an immediate investigation and commit to stop any collaboration with ICE.”
According to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio the tactics that swept up Villavicencio “are specifically designed to intimidate immigrant communities through fear.”
“New York City remains strong and works hard to protect everyone’s civil rights, and the NYPD does not cooperate with ICE except in extremely limited circumstances, but incidents such as what happened at the military base remind us that we must constantly monitor and use all the tools at our disposal to protect ourselves and our neighbors,” de Blasio said.
Villavicencio has since be transferred to a migration prison in Manhattan where he awaits further news.
Featured image via Facebook