A man was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after delivering a pizza to a military base in Brooklyn.
On June 1, Pablo Villavicencio, 35, was detained by military police officers and turned over to ICE, a spokesperson with the federal agency confirmed.
Villavicencio reportedly went to the Fort Hamilton military base, located on General Lee Avenue between Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, to deliver a pizza when he was asked by a military guard to show his papers.
When he could not show valid identification, the guard turned him over to ICE.
Villavicencio is originally from Ecuador. In March 2010, he was granted voluntary departure by an immigration judge.
He “failed to depart by July 2010 as ordered,” a spokesperson for ICE said. “As such, his voluntary departure order became a final order of removal and [he] is an ICE fugitive.”
Villavicencio remains in ICE custody pending removal.
According to New York City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, who is the chair of the Committee on Immigration, Villavicencio has an active green card application and his wife and children are all United States citizens.
“Pablo Villavicencio's treatment at the Fort Hamilton Army base in Brooklyn is outrageous, cruel and pointless. Now, a hard-working New Yorker just doing his job faces all the dangers that come with ICE detention and deportation,” Menchaca said in a statement. “[He] deserves his freedom and to live and work in peace while his application is pending.”
Sandra Chica, Villavicencio’s wife, spoke with El Diario La Prensa, New York’s Spanish-language daily, about the incident. The two met five years ago and have two daughters, ages 4 and 3, she said, and had submitted their marriage certification in February to legalize his residence status. Villavicencio has been in the U.S. for 10 years, she said.
To Menchaca, this move was meant to intimidate immigrant communities.
“The federal administration has a senseless obsession with detaining law-abiding people, tearing families apart, and targeting people at work,” he said. “The family and public deserve to know why military personnel conducted aggressive immigration enforcement action on a pizza delivery man who had been called to Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn."
"Why didn’t the base confirm the order with the person ordering the food? Why didn’t the military police confirm the identity of the worker with the pizzeria?" Menchaca continued. "The garrison’s general concern for security and to identify who comes in and out is understandable. Nevertheless the military police officer's aggressive enforcement of immigration policies on delivery man who was just doing his job is alarming and unjustifiable.”