A New York pizza delivery man who was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after delivering to a Brooklyn military base will not be deported – at least, for now, CNN is reporting.
Pablo Villavicencio, 35, was just doing his job last week, delivering pizza for a Queens pizza joint when things took a serious turn for the worst. When he made a delivery to Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton, as he had done many times before, he presented his I.D. to the guard station. For reasons that remain unclear, his I.D. wasn’t enough to satisfy the guard, so he had to get a visitors pass, which required him to undergo a background check. The background check revealed that there was an active warrant for his deportation, so the guard called ICE.
Villavicencio’s plight made international headlines and got the attention of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who personally intervened and wrote letters to “two high-ranking officials,” including one to Department of Homeland Security Acting Inspector General John Kelly, in order to try to get the man some help.
“New York will not sit on the sidelines as our immigrant communities are threatened. 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.”
Villavicencio’s story also came to the attention of The Legal Aid Society, which provides legal services to people in poverty. Working through the night, the agency was able to file an emergency request that earned him a temporary stay of deportation back to Ecuador. This will allow him to remain with his wife and two daughters while his green card application, which he submitted in February, makes its way through the process.
“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.”
As The Guardian notes, the emergency order only grants a stay of deportation until July 20. What happens after that remains unclear.
As of this writing, he remains in an ICE detention facility, where he will remain until his case is adjudicated.
Meanwhile, Pablo’s wife has set up a GoFundMe account in order to raise money for his legal defense. As of this writing, the crowdfunding campaign has raised just over $30,000.