A pizza deliveryman, who faced deportation late Friday, was granted an emergency stay Saturday by a federal judge in Manhattan.
Pablo Villavicencio received the stay until July 20 from Judge Alison J. Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Legal Aid Society lawyers announced Saturday afternoon.
Villavicencio, of Hempstead, was detained June 1 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement while he was delivering a pizza to the Fort Hamilton military base in Brooklyn.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in a letter issued Saturday afternoon in support of Villavicencio’s stay of removal, asked the Department of Homeland Security to release Villavicencio “from the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (‘ICE’).”
“Mr. 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 that warrant proper investigation and adjudication,” Cuomo’s letter said. Cuomo said Villavicencio is a taxpayer who has lived in New York for more than 10 years.
Cuomo had helped Villavicencio’s family obtain free legal aid Friday in an effort to keep the deliveryman from being deported.
Though he will remain in detention at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, New Jersey — in the custody of ICE — the stay will allow Villavicencio to work on obtaining permanent U.S. residency and hopefully be reunited with his family, legal aid said.
“Although we are disappointed that Pablo will remain detained, today’s (emergency) stay is a victory for him and his family,” Legal Aid Society supervising attorney Gregory Copeland said in a statement Saturday.
A statement issued by Fort Hamilton last Friday said Villavicencio attempted to make a delivery about 11 a.m. but lacked identification required to enter. An ICE spokeswoman said he was “illegally present” in the country after he had been granted voluntary departure by an immigration judge in March 2010.
Villavicencio’s case has caught the attention of New York City activists, including the New York Immigration Coalition and Make the Road New York, a political group advocating on immigration issues.
Natalia Aristizabal of Make the Road New York called Villavicencio “a man who wants nothing more than to stay with his wife and daughters.”