Federal judge stays deportation of N.Y. pizza delivery man

By Daniel Uria

June 10 (UPI) -- A federal judge Saturday halted the deportation of a man who was detained while delivering pizza to a U.S. Ary base.

Judge Alison J. Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York stayed the deportation of 35-year-old Ecuadorian native Pablo Villavicencio Calderon until a hearing on July 20, The Legal Aid Society wrote on Twitter.


Nathan also ordered federal officials to file court documents explaining why he shouldn't be granted a temporary preliminary injunction.

Villavicencio, who was detained while delivering pizza to the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, will continue to be held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey.

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"Although we are disappointed that Pablo will remain detained, today's stay is a victory for him and his family, and also for due process and the fair administration of justice," Legal Aid Society lawyer Gregory Copeland said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for Villavicencio's release in a tweet on Saturday.

"There's compelling evidence that Pablo Villavicencio was improperly detained," he wrote. "He should be immediately released from ICE custody and an investigation should be launched into the circumstances of his arrest."


Villavicencio was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents while delivering the pizza from a restaurant in Queens, when a background check revealed he had an open order of removal since 2010 and he was immediately detained.

Lawyers from the Legal Aid Society of New York filed a petition with the New York field office of ICE on Friday to have him released on humanitarian reasons as he is the primary provider for his wife and two children, all of whom are U.S. citizens.

The suit also notes his youngest daughter, 2, has a congenital heart defect.

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The Legal Aid Society filed another lawsuit claiming Villavicencio was the victim of racial profiling and the detention violated his civil rights. Villavicencio was in the process of applying to become a legal permanent resident.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged the city would continue to provide Villavicencio funds for immigration legal services.

"Delivering pizza is not a risk to public safety," he wrote on Twitter. "We will do all we can to keep him here with his family."

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