A pizza delivery man was arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation after delivering a pizza to a military base in Brooklyn on June 1.
Pablo Villavicencio delivered a pizza to a Fort Hamilton military Base. When he was unable to provide the requested type of identification, the staff called ICE and he was arrested. He is currently in ICE custody in Manhattan and is supposed to be deported to Ecuador. However, New York City Council Member Justin Brannan, who represents the area, said Wednesday that Villavicencio actually provided his ID NYC, available to New Yorkers regardless of immigration status, but was asked for further identification after he was on the premises.
When officials directed him to get a daily pass, he signed a waiver permitting a background check, which Department of the Army Access Control claims is standard for all visitors. They discovered an active ICE warrant on file. Fort Hamilton reps refused to answer questions about why that delivery was different from all other deliveries Villavicencio had previously made to the military base.
Villavicencio is undocumented according to ICE and has a pending green card application. He’s married to Sandra Chica and he has 2- and 3-year-old daughters; they are all American citizens.
“In one day, your life changes,” Chica said at a press conference in Brooklyn on Wednesday. “Now I’m alone with the kids—I need to give not only emotional support, but economic support. In one day, he’s not here, just because he doesn’t have the papers.”
While his green card application is still open, an ICE spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that this does not protect him from deportation.
“That doesn’t affect whether or not he is removable,” ICE spokesperson Rachael Yong Yow said. “That case will remain pending even after removal, and if it’s approved while he’s out of the country he will be told as such and be able to come back.”
A friend of the family set up a GoFundMe page on Monday to help raise money for his wife and small children, who will lose his income if he is further detained or deported. They have already reached $18,176 of their $20,000 goal.