Man Turned In to ICE After Delivering Pizza to Military Base

Pablo Villavicencio, with his wife and daughters. (Photo via El Diario)

In an unprecedented case in New York City or State, a military guard asked a delivery man to show his papers as the latter delivered pizza. Since the worker did not have them, the customer called ICE and handed him over to immigration authorities himself.

“There are no words to describe the drama my daughters and I are going through. In the blink of an eye, life changed for us, and all I am asking for now is that they don’t deport my husband, that they give him a chance,” said Sandra Chica, the wife of Pablo Villavicencio, 32, who was arrested on Friday at noon when he went to deliver a pizza at the Fort Hamilton military base, located on General Lee Avenue between Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights in Brooklyn.

The case has unsettled many in New York where immigrant advocates continue to report daily arrests leading to the dismembering of entire families.

“For God’s sake, what is happening? How can it be that, now, in New York City, soldiers are changing their role to be middlemen to immigration agents?” said Chica (…)

She agreed to talk to this publication by phone and said that she is desperate. She does not have relatives who can help her take care of her daughters Luciana, 4,  and Antonia, 3, so she can have time to find a way to get her husband, and the father of her girls, released.

Born in Colombia and a U.S. citizen, Chica said that her husband was taken to the immigration jail in Manhattan after he was arrested on Friday. From there, he communicated with her the same day and told her what had happened.

“As he often did, he went to the military base to deliver an order of pizzas. However, this time, the guard – whom he described as African American – asked him for a valid identification document. Since he did not have one, the soldier called ICE to come and arrest him.”

“Outrageous and cruel” arrest

Council member Carlos Menchaca, chair of the City Council Committee on Immigration, criticized the circumstances under which the Ecuador native was arrested.

“The arrest of Pablo Villavicencio at the Fort Hamilton military base is outrageous, cruel and useless. Now, a New York worker who was doing his job is facing all the dangers that a detention and deportation by ICE carry. Mr. Villavicencio, who has an active green card application and whose wife and children are all U.S. citizens, deserves to be free and to work and live in peace while his application is pending,” said Menchaca.

Chica said that she and Villavicencio met five years ago, got married and had two daughters, and that they submitted their marriage certification in February to legalize his residence status. He came to the country 10 years ago.

Menchaca added that the federal government has a senseless obsession with detaining people who are respectful of the law, splitting families and snatching people while they work.

“These tactics are specifically designed to intimidate immigrant communities through fear. New York City stands strong and is working hard to protect everyone’s civil rights, and the NYPD does not cooperate with ICE except in extremely limited circumstances. However, incidents such as what happened at the military base remind us that we must always be vigilant and use all the tools at our disposal to protect our neighbors,” insisted the Council member.

Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road, said that ICE continues to look for excuses to attack immigrant families.

First, said Valdés, “we demand the immediate release of Pablo Villavicencio. We also want this military base investigated immediately and that it commits to halting any collaboration with ICE.”

The activist pointed out that the case shows the crisis that continues to plague immigrant communities.

“This is the father of two girls who are U.S. citizens, and he is in the process of adjusting his immigration status. And now, we have the tragic and ridiculous case of a military base becoming an accomplice in these attacks, all while Mr. Villavicencio was doing his job of delivering pizzas to provide for his family,” added Valdés.

This newspaper attempted to obtain a reaction from a spokesperson for the Fort Hamilton military base and from ICE, but neither had replied at press time.

“The girls will not stop asking for their dad. We talked with him over the weekend. He was crying, and the girls noticed it, and we didn’t know what to tell them. They are the most affected. They are suffering so much… Please, help me,” implored the young mother, adding that her husband was transferred to an immigration jail in New Jersey during the weekend.

ICE’s latest raids in New York have left dozens of families split. The drama of the Villavicencio-Chicas, who live in Hempstead, Long Island, shows the entire range of the effects of the Trump administration’s immigration policy.

“Pablo is a hardworking man. He is the economic support of our home. I work part time, and we take turns caring for the girls because we do not have family here,” said Chica. “I cannot imagine what will happen to us if Pablo is deported.”

4 Comments

  1. Linda Schneeman says:

    Good. A military base has every obligation to uphold the law. This “hard working” pizza delivery person (my 15 year old had that job until they got a better one 2 months later) and it’s not hard, was here illegally for 10 years. Now he’s been caught. All illegals need to be taken out of our country. If she is so mad, she can leave too. She obviously hates America and Americans.

  2. ERodrigus says:

    “Mr. Villavicencio, who has an active green card application and whose wife and children are all U.S. citizens, deserves to be free and to work and live in peace while his application is pending,” said Menchaca. ”
    He has a legal right to be in the U.S.

  3. Pingback: – ‘They Always Give the Delivery Guys a Problem’

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