Pizza deliveryman wins emergency stay against deportation, Legal Aid Society says

Frederick Owens
June 13, 2018

Though he will remain in detention at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, New Jersey - in the custody of ICE - the stay will allow Villavicencio to work on obtaining permanent USA residency and hopefully be reunited with his family, legal aid said.

Villavicencio filed for his green card in February and was waiting for a response when he was detained, said his wife, Sandra Chica.

She described Villavicencio as "the main support" of the family and added, "We're really going to suffer if he is deported". Villavicencio's wife told The New York Times that the personnel at the base still accepted the food he had delivered. As an undocumented immigrant Villavicencio has no driver's license.

"They treated me like a criminal".

Villavicencio ended up "signing a waiver permitting a background check", which revealed there was an active warrant for his deportation and prompted military police to call immigration agents. His voluntary departure then became a final order for removal. This showed he faced an open order of removal since 2010. Chica had immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia and became an American citizen.

"Pablo Villavicencio-Calderon is an illegally present citizen and national of Ecuador".

If those efforts moved the federal government, it was not apparent.

"We ask ICE to release him and come back to us", his wife said. The suit also stated that Villavicencio is applying for legal residency, although no evidence of this has been brought forward.

"The circumstances of this case, including the arrest and detention of Mr. Villavicencio and the remarkable speed with which it appears he is being removed, reflects a pattern of conduct which I have previously raised with ICE as unconscionable and seemingly targeted directly at NY residents", Cuomo said in the letter.

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Cuomo's protestations and offer of legal aid are a transparent attempt to burnish his liberal image as he faces a primary challenge for the gubernatorial nomination from actress Cynthia Nixon. A background check showed that Villavicencio had been ordered to leave the United States in 2010, but stayed. City Council member Justin Brannan asked the cameras.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter after the stay was granted, saying "delivering pizza is not a risk to public safety".

Other politicians used the incident to promote anti-immigrant chauvinism while glorifying the military.

"Tell me how this is American".

Workers have rallied to Villavicencio's defense.

"ICE may feel confident in its legal position, but our client's confidence in the judiciary, as well as the will of the American people, is stronger", said Jennifer Williams, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, which is representing Villavicencio. "He's very anxious what's going to happen with us".

A march to protest the pending deportation in Bay Ridge Wednesday night led to seven arrests. The protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct.

He went from delivering pizza to being detained by immigration officers.

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