Sandra Chica

Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

Judge Halts Deportation Of Pizza Deliveryman Arrested By ICE At Fort Hamilton

June 10, 2018 - 1:12 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/CBS News) -- A judge has temporarily blocked the deportation of a pizza deliveryman who was arrested by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency when he made a delivery to Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, the deportation of Pablo Villavicencio was supposed to happen Sunday or Monday. But the Legal Aid Society fought the deportation of the pizza deliveryman and won a stay.

He will remain in ICE custody, but will be able to pursue permanent residency status, according to attorney Gregory Copeland.

“The judge’s order did not order that he be released from detention immediately. We are hopeful that given that there’s no possible reason to keep him detained; to keep him away from his family, that ICE will decide to release him,” Copeland said. “But until we resolve other issues in his case, he would remain detained after the order from today.”

Villavicencio is from Hempstead and has a wife and two children. He was delivering a pizza to Fort Hamilton when he was picked up by ICE.

Villavicencio is being held at the federal detention facility in Kearny, New Jersey. His wife, Sandra Chica, implored immigration authorities in a video late last week.

“This week – these several days – have been really hard for us, especially for my daughters that miss him a lot,” Chica said. “We ask ICE to release him.”

Villavicencio had delivered pizzas to Fort Hamilton in the past. But when he showed up on Friday of last week, 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.

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.