A federal judge has suspended an undocumented Ecuadorean man’s deportation after he was detained and reported to immigration officials earlier this month while delivering pizza to a military base in New York City.
The temporary emergency stay was awarded to Pablo Villavicencio, 35, on Saturday with the help of attorneys with the Legal Aid Society, a law firm that aids low-income families and individuals.
The reprieve means Villavicencio, who is married to a U.S. citizen and has two young children, will remain at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in the U.S. until his case is adjudicated.
“They look different today and I’m happy for that,” Sandra Chica, Villavicencio’s wife, told the New York Daily News of her children on Sunday.
Villavicencio had been waiting for a green card application to process when he was arrested on June 1 at the Fort Hamilton garrison in Brooklyn where he was delivering a pizza.
Though Villavicencio had a valid New York City identification card, which is available to all New York City residents regardless of citizenship, he was questioned by a guard after being unable to provide a driver’s license, his wife told El Diario.
A representative at the base told HuffPost that a routine background check was performed on him, which Villavicencio consented to. That search revealed a warrant for his arrest for violating an immigration judge’s 2010 order to leave the U.S.
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among a handful of politicians who called for an investigation into the case and an emergency stay, stating that “his arrest and detention raise serious legal and policy concerns.”
“There is absolutely no legitimate reason to proceed with an expedited removal and to do so would be inhumane,” Cuomo said in a letter addressed to Thomas Decker, field office director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Customs Enforcement.