The wife of a deliveryman who was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents continues to fight for his release, as the clock ticks down toward the end of an emergency stay of deportation.
Pablo Villavicencio, an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador and father of two young girls, was granted the stay of deportation on Saturday but it only lasts until July 20.
While Legal Aid Society attorneys work to keep him from being deported and obtain permanent U.S. residency, Villavicencio has remained in ICE custody at a detention facility in Hudson County, New Jersey.
In a video posted to the Legal Aid Society’s Twitter account Wednesday, Villavicencio’s wife Sandra Chica said she is relieved they are able to fight his case while he remains in the country but urged ICE to release her husband so he can be with his family.
“This time without Pablo has been really painful for us but your support has helped us to continue fighting so we can keep my family together,” she said. “My daughters need their dad. We miss him a lot and we will continue fighting so that he can be with us.”
Chica also thanked community groups and elected officials, including City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who have offered resources in fighting against Villavicencio’s deportation.
Villavicencio was delivering pizza to Fort Hamilton in Bay Ridge on June 1 when he was asked for identification, according to a statement released by the military base. Cathy SantoPietro, a spokeswoman for Fort Hamilton, said in order to obtain a day pass, he agreed to a background check which revealed an active ICE warrant for his arrest.
Villavicencio was then held at Fort Hamilton until ICE agents arrived to take him into custody.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who also helped the family with legal services, has called for ICE to release Villavicencio, arguing that the manner in which he was detained has raised “serious legal and policy concerns.”
Villavicencio is a taxpayer who has lived in New York for over 10 years, according to Cuomo. Chica and their children are U.S. citizens.