Court blocks deportation of pizza delivery man who was turned over to ICE by military base

A federal court has temporarily blocked the deportation of a man who delivered pizza to a Brooklyn military base, only to have base officials call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on him, leading to his arrest.

Pablo Villavicencio, 35, is still in ICE custody but his deportation will be placed in hold until July 20, CNN reports.

Villavicencio, who is an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador with a pending green card application, was detained June 1 at the Fort Hamilton base in Brooklyn while he was trying to deliver food. When he could not present the identification the officer asked for, Immigration and Customs Enforcement were called and he was arrested.

According to BuzzFeed, base spokesperson Cathy SantoPietro 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 has a wife and two daughters who are U.S. citizens.

In a statement, the Legal Aid Society said they worked to get the stay request for Villavicencio deportation as soon as they learned about his case.

“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 statement said.

As CNN points out, Villavicencio filed for his green card in February and was waiting for a response when he was detained. He had visited the base to deliver food many times before, and each time showed his New York City ID card without any problems.

In a letter this Friday to Department of Homeland Security Acting Inspector General John Kelly, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said ICE is intentionally waging a campaign of fear and intimidation against immigrant communities.

“New York will not sit on the sidelines as our immigrant communities are threatened,” Cuomo wrote. “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.”

Featured image via Villavicencio Family

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.