Sandra Chica

Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

Ecuadorean Immigrant Facing Deportation After Going To Fort Hamilton To Deliver Pizza

June 07, 2018 - 11:15 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/CBS News) -- An Ecuadorean immigrant is facing deportation after a routine visit to a Brooklyn military base to deliver a pizza, and advocates are furious.

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, Pablo Villavicencio had delivered pizzas to Fort Hamilton in the past. But when he showed up on Friday, immigration officials were called and he was detained.

"I have been there before and always go in and never have had any problems, they actually know me and the sergeant knows me for some time doing delivery," Villavicencio told the New York Post.

"Last Friday there was a different security guard and he told me I needed to go get another pass to enter," he said. "And I proceeded to do that. A tall man with dark skin started to ask me many questions, he asked me about why I didn't have any Social Security card."

According to Villavicencio, that man called the NYPD "and the NYPD told him I didn't have any record, that I was clean. But the man said 'I don't care,' he said I need to keep waiting and he called ICE."

A Fort Hamilton representative provided its version of events, saying that on Friday at approximately 11 a.m. "an individual attempted to gain access to Fort Hamilton to make a delivery without valid Department of Defense identification."

"The person was directed to the Visitor Control Center to obtain a daily pass. Upon signing a waiver permitting a background check, Department of the Army Access Control standard for all visitors, an active Immigration and Customs Enforcement warrant was discovered on file. This prompted the Department of Emergency Services personnel to contact the proper authorities, and transport the individual to DES for further processing, and released to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement," the representative said.

Villavicencio's wife spoke out at a news conference Wednesday.

“It's cruel that they have to,” said Sandra Chica. “They're going to separate my daughters from him.”

As Chica spoke, her 2- and 3-year-old girls clutched their dolls. Her husband expects to be deported next week.

“Yeah, he called me from there, but he's devastated,” she said. “Every time that he calls, he just crying and asking me about them.”

City Councilman Justin Brannan (D-43rd) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams spoke out against the incident Wednesday. Brannan said he just doesn’t get it.

“Is our city, state, and nation any safer today because Pablo is off the street?” he said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke out on Twitter against Villavicencio's detention Thursday, and said New York state is prepared to provide him with free legal representation.

The New York Immigration Commission also issued a statement, saying it is "absolutely disgusting when the strongest military in the world punches down by going after pizza delivery men."

Chica and her daughters are citizens, while her husband has applied for a green card. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative said Villavicencio agreed to self-deport in 2010, but never did.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. CBS News contributed to this report.)