NEW YORK: An immigrant from Ecuador working as a pizza delivery man was detained as he dropped off a pie at a military base in New York, then handed over to immigration agents, local media reported Wednesday. The man, Pablo Villavicencio, was allowed onto the Fort Hamilton military base in Brooklyn on Friday, where he had made deliveries before, but was asked by a military policeman for proof that he was a legal resident in the United States.
When he failed to deliver any documentation, the soldier detained him and called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who established that the father of two girls, aged two and three, had been living illegally in the country since 2010. “In March 2010, he was granted voluntary departure by an immigration judge, but failed to depart by July 2010 as ordered. As such, his voluntary departure order became a final order of removal,” ICE said in a statement.
In his previous deliveries to the base, Villavicencio had shown his New York identity card, which does not require any information about the bearer’s residency status.
His wife Chica, who is a US citizen, told local media he now faces deportation. “A lawyer told me that there is nothing he can do, that he is going to be deported,” she said.
Urged on by President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, authorities have been cracking down on businesses suspected of employing undocumented immigrants.
Immigration authorities recently granted agents permission to pick up suspected illegal immigrants even in courthouses, which had hitherto been regarded as off-limits.
New York’s lawmakers are soon set to consider a new bill preventing any arrests in court precincts.
New York City council member Justin Brannan demanded to know why Villavicencio was detained by the military, and called for a demonstration to support him outside the base.