Pablo Villavicencio
Make The Road New York members, The Legal Aid Society, and Council Member Carlos Menchaca held a rally outside the Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza in support of an emergency stay motion filed this afternoon for Pablo Villavicencio. Photo: Getty Ima

A federal judge in Manhattan granted a last-minute stay of deportation to Pablo Villavicencio, the man detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after delivering pizza to a Brooklyn army base.

 

Villavicencio, whose wife and two daughters are United States citizens, will now be able to remain in the country until July 20, the date on which he will have a court hearing, as he works on his immigration case.

 

The stay of deportation was granted on Saturday, temporarily halting Villavicencio’s immediate removal to his home country of Ecuador. He has been in the U.S. for 10 years and has committed no crimes in that time, an ICE spokesperson said, but was ordered by an immigration judge to leave the country by July 2010.

 

Villavicencio will remain in ICE custody in New Jersey until his case goes to court.

 

“Although we are disappointed that Pablo will remain detained, [Saturday’s] stay is a victory for him and his family, and also for due process and the fair administration of justice,” said Gregory Copeland, an immigration lawyer with The Legal Aid Society, in a statement. “This decision is also a reminder that the judiciary can still serve as a powerful check when other branches of government make hasty, cruel and reckless decisions.”

The Legal Aid Society and other immigrant advocates are still calling for ICE to release Villavicencio. Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke out in support of this as well, saying on Twitter that, “There’s compelling evidence that Pablo Villavicencio was improperly detained. He should be immediately released from ICE custody and an investigation should be launched into the circumstances of his arrest.”

In a letter to the New York ICE office, Cuomo said that Villavicencio’s expedited removal “serves no legitimate public safety purpose and the circumstances leading to his arrest and detention raise serious legal and policy concerns.”

Lawyers with The Legal Aid Society and immigration organization Make the Road New York said they will continue to do all they can to free Villavicencio and secure immigration status for him.