After dropping food off at a military base in New York City last week, a pizza delivery man was nearly deported. Pablo Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian immigrant, delivered an order to Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton on Friday afternoon, and when he could not produce valid identification, the guard on duty called Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to El Diario. Villavicencio was subsequently detained in a Manhattan immigration jail.
Villavicencio’s wife, who is an American citizen, says he began the process of applying for residency status back in February; the couple has been married for five years and has two children. Activists called for Villavicencio to be released and for the military base to end collaboration with ICE, while Brooklyn lawmakers visited the base to demand answers, per Kings County Politics. Villavicencio was reportedly just minutes away from being deported when a Manhattan federal judge stepped in to grant him a temporary reprieve. He can now remain in the country until at least July 20, when he’ll face a hearing with a U.S. district court judge.
It’s no secret that the U.S. food industry relies heavily on immigrant workers, including those who are undocumented. Since President Trump took office, he’s signed two executive orders giving immigration officials wider authority to pursue and deport unauthorized workers, leading to increased immigration raids at farms, factories, and restaurants. Said raids have affected communities across the nation: In March 2017, a Pennsylvania restaurant was forced to shutter for two weeks after immigration agents detained four of its staff. A few months later in Michigan, ICE agents took three employees of an Ann Arbor restaurant into custody after the government workers had breakfast there. And just four months ago, immigration agents interrogated restaurant employees in Los Angeles, including at Maggiano’s Little Italy at the Grove.
Update (June 12, 2018, 8:36 a.m.): This article was updated to include new information on the case.
• “Un Soldado Delato a Mi Esposa a La Migra” [El Diario]
• Pizza Delivery Man Detained by ICE After Delivering to Military Base: Report [The Hill]
• Immigrant Pizza Deliveryman Was Minutes From Deportation Before Reprieve [NYDN]