Immigrant delivering pizza detained at military base
His name is Pablo Villavicencio, originally from Ecuador, and he was arrested while delivering a pizza to a military base.
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One day you're a guy who picks up tips for delivering pizzas; the next you're a criminal who must be detained for not having papers.
That’s the story of Pablo Villavicencio, an immigrant of Ecuadorian origin, age 32, who has lived in the United States since 2010, where he has raised two daughters after marrying a U.S. resident.
During his work routine, Pablo often had to travel to a military base in South Brooklyn to deliver pizzas. Previously, he had identified himself at the door using his New York City identification card, which is a right of all residents regardless of their immigration status, according to the newspaper Semana (in Spanish).
"But in this new installment, last Friday, he was asked to sign a document authorizing, among other things, the verification of his background," the report continues.
However, and according to subsequent reports, Pablo affirmed that he was never asked to sign any document.
"That is a lie. I didn’t sign anything. They never told me anything and I never signed anything,” he told The New York Post through a phone call from the detention center.
Even so, the personnel of the base checked his background, finding that Pablo is undocumented and that he received a deportation order in July of 2010.
He was arrested and handed over to immigration and customs agents to begin his final deportation process, AFP explained.
Despite having started his procedures to obtain a residence permit, having two daughters born in the U.S. and a permanent job, the circumstances and the new policies of the administration took him to a detention center with the risk of never seeing his girls again.
Pablo is one of a large number of undocumented immigrants without criminal records who are separated from their families and deported under the argument of "making America safe."
For Councilman of New York Justin Brannan, the paradox is implicit: "Tell me how taking Pablo off the street makes our nation safer," he wrote on Twitter.
Both Pablo's loved ones and several organizations have marched and protested in the streets, in front of the military base and through social media, creating a platform to help his family while Pablo's case is resolved.
Seven people have been arrested in Bay Ridge during a protest demanding his release. Likewise, his wife Sandra declared that "it’s cruel that they’re going to separate my daughters from him," according to AM New York.
Both Brannan and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have joined the cause of Pablo and his family, offering them free legal representation and assistance.
To help Pablo's family, click here.