[Marxism] [SUSPICIOUS MESSAGE] Pizza Delivery Man Detained by ICE Is Freed by Judge

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 25 08:09:11 MDT 2018

NY Times, July 25, 2018
Pizza Delivery Man Detained by ICE Is Freed by Judge
By Liz Robbins

A federal district court judge on Tuesday ordered the immediate release 
of Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, an undocumented pizza delivery man, 
from immigration detention in New Jersey, where he had been locked up 
since June 1.

The order came after a morning hearing in which Judge Paul A. Crotty, an 
appointee of President George W. Bush and the former corporation counsel 
for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, pointedly questioned the government about 
why it had detained Mr. Villavicencio and planned to deport him. “Is 
there any concept of justice here?” Judge Crotty asked the government’s 

Later in the day, the judge said that Mr. Villavicencio, 35, who is 
married to a United States citizen and in February began a petition for 
a green card, should be released. The judge granted a stay of 
deportation while Mr. Villavicencio pursues permanent residency.

“Removal is no longer reasonably feasible,” Judge Crotty wrote in an 
order to be followed by a formal opinion.

Judge Crotty set the tone for his decision during the hearing in 
Manhattan when he questioned why Mr. Villavicencio had been held for 53 
days by the immigration agency since his arrest while dropping off food 
at a Brooklyn army base. “Is he a threat to the country? A flight risk? 
Don’t they have to justify it?” he asked the government lawyer.

The lawyer, Joseph Cordaro, stammered, but said that the Department of 
Homeland Security, which oversees the U.S. Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement agency, had made the decision.

Mr. Villavicencio was arrested when delivering food from a Queens 
brick-oven pizzeria to a Fort Hamilton Army base. He presented a 
municipal identification card from the city, known as IDNYC, which Mr. 
Villavicencio has said he used previously at the base. This time it was 
not accepted.

A military police officer on duty said Mr. Villavicencio needed a 
driver’s license, which he did not have; the officer then ran a 
background check — which Mr. Villavicencio has said he did not consent 
to — which revealed an open order of deportation from 2010.

Despite the order, Mr. Villavicencio, who is originally from Ecuador, 
had not left the country, and in 2013, he married Sandra Chica, a 
naturalized citizen. Through her sponsorship, Mr. Villavicencio applied 
for permanent residency. But it was not until Tuesday morning that his 
lawyers received a date for an interview: Aug. 21.

Earlier this month, a judge had temporarily blocked Mr. Villavicencio’s 

Throughout the hearing, Ms. Chica sat in the front row of the gallery 
while the couple’s two daughters, ages 3 and 4, played with rainbow 
beanie babies and princess figurines. Mr. Villavicencio was not in the 
Manhattan courtroom; he was detained at Hudson County Correctional 
Facility in Kearny, N.J.

For that reason, the government was arguing for a change of venue, to 
New Jersey. Mr. Villavicencio’s lawyers, from Debevoise & Plimpton and 
Legal Aid, wanted to keep the case in New York, since it was originally 
filed in the Southern District in Manhattan and keeping it in that 
jurisdiction would offer the swiftest resolution.

During the hearing Judge Crotty made a point that still resonated when 
he made his decision six hours later. “The powerful are doing what they 
want,” he said, “and the poor are suffering what they must.”

Follow Liz Robbins on Twitter: @nytlizrobbins

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