Pablo Villavicencio poses with his two daughters, Luciana, left, and Antonia. (Villavicencio Family Photo via Associated Press)
A federal judge on Saturday temporarily blocked the deportation of a New York City pizza shop worker to his native Ecuador after he was arrested while making a delivery to a Brooklyn Army base.
Attorneys for the Legal Aid Society obtained the temporary stay for Pablo Villavicencio, 35, after a hearing in Manhattan federal court.
The married father of two young girls was arrested June 1 while making a delivery to the garrison in Fort Hamilton. A routine background check revealed there was a warrant for his arrest for immigration law violations.
Federal Judge Alison Nathan granted the stay until July 20. Villavicencio will remain in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in New Jersey until his case goes to court.
In a letter to the ICE office in New York, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Villavicencio’s "expedited removal serves no legitimate public safety purpose and the circumstances leading to his arrest and detention raise serious legal and policy concerns."
Villavicencio’s wife, Sandra Chica, is an American citizen and their daughters, ages 2 and 3, were born in the U.S.
When he arrived at Fort Hamilton, guards requested identification and he produced a city identification card. A background check showed that Villavicencio had been ordered to leave the United States in 2010, but stayed.
Redmond Haskins, a spokesman for the Legal Aid Society, a not-for-profit organization, said attorneys worked through the night preparing the emergency stay request that was argued in court on Saturday afternoon.
Gregory Copeland, supervising attorney for Legal Aid’s Immigration Law Unit called Villavicencio’s stay “a victory for him and his family, and also for due process and the fair administration of justice.”
The attorneys said they will work with Villavicencio to help him secure valid immigration status.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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