Pablo Villavicencio was probably hoping for a nice tip when he delivered an order of pasta to a sergeant at an army base in Brooklyn last week, especially because it required him to drive for more than an hour.
But the Ecuadorian man ended up detained and handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement who are preparing to deport him next week.
Now New York politicians are questioning if Villavicencio’s arrest made the streets any safer.
“It goes against everything we believe in” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Detaining a hardworking man, separating a father from his children and tearing apart communities doesn’t make America safe, and a wrong minded immigration policy grounded in bias and cruelty doesn’t make America great.”
But, of course, many Americans will disagree, believing guys like Villavicencio are simultaneously stealing jobs while collecting welfare benefits.
So if that was a case, there is probably a job opening at Nonna Delia’s where he worked delivering pizza.
The restaurant is located in Queens and the Fort Hamilton military base is about an hour’s drive away in Brooklyn, a trip Villavicencio had made several times before to deliver to the same sergeant.
So the food must be very good considering the number of established pizzerias in Brooklyn that are much closer to the base. It maintains a solid four stars on Yelp.
Villavicencio made his final delivery on June 1 when he was detained. He said the sergeant who had ordered the food came to his defense but to no avail.
“The sergeant was telling the man … he had no business calling ICE, he just has to verify I had no problems and let [me] through,” Villavicencio told the New York Post.
On the previous occasions, Villavicencio used a municipal identification card issued by New York City called the IDNYC which is meant to be used by undocumented immigrants, homeless people, former prisoners and senior citizens; people who may not have a state-issued identification.
However, there was a new guard at the gate who wanted to know more about Villavicencio, even calling the New York City Police Department, who told him they have never arrested the man.
But the guard insisted he needed to apply for a daily visitor’s pass, which required a background check. Villavicencio even signed a waiver, allowing them to conduct a background search, probably just wanting to hurry up and deliver the pasta.
And that was when they learned that an immigration judge had ordered him to voluntarily leave the country in 2010 after he overstayed his visa. But that was a civil case, not a criminal case, according to CNN.
Governor Cuomo said he has secured pro bono legal representation for Villacienco through the Legal Defense Project, which supports immigrants.
Villacicencio is married to a Colombian woman who is a United States citizen and has two children who were born in this country. He also applied for a green card in February but that has no bearing on deportation procedures.
No word yet on whether Nonna’s Delia will continue delivering food to the Fort Hamilton military base.