The Legal Aid Society Submits
Formal Detention Release Request To Ice
The Legal Aid Society; Sandra Chica, wife of Pablo Villavicencio, and their children; New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson; Council Members Carlos Menchaca and Justin Brannan; members from Make The Road New York; and others gathered out front of the Jacob Javits Federal Building today demanding the release of Pablo Villavicencio from Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) custody.
“Spending Father’s Day without my husband was unbelievably painful for me and my daughters,” said Sandra Chica, wife of Pablo Villavicencio. “Pablo’s detention is punishment that our entire family feels. We call on ICE to do the right thing and let him come home immediately.”
Last Saturday, a federal court judge temporarily stayed Mr. Villavicencio’s deportation to Ecuador. However, Mr. Villavicencio is still in ICE custody at Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey.
“Pablo’s continued detention is cruel and unjust, and it has caused incredible punitive hardship for the Villavicencio family,” said Jennifer Williams, Deputy Attorney-In-Charge of the Immigration Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “His release is not only an issue of morals but one rooted in the law. The Legal Aid Society stands with the Villavicencio family and many others calling on ICE to release Pablo immediately.”
“Our community stands with Sandra and her children in demanding Pablo’s immediate release,” said Antonio Alarcon, immigration youth organizer with Make the Road New York. “Pablo belongs at home with his children, not locked in a cage by an out-of-control agency that just wants to tear apart our families. We will not rest until Pablo is free.”
Council Member Carlos Menchaca with Legal Aid attorney Jennifer Williams
The Legal Aid Society submitted a formal request to ICE demanding Pablo’s release. The request argues:
Humanitarian factors warrant Mr. Villavicencio’s release including the significant emotional and financial hardship to his U.S. citizen wife and minor U.S. citizen daughters, his youngest daughter’s delicate medical conditions, his long-time residence in the United States, community ties, employment history, and tremendous community support, including from the highest elected officials of the City of New York demonstrate that Pablo is not a flight risk. Mr. Villavicencio has no criminal history, and is in no way a threat to public safety or national security. Mr. Villavicencio’s detention pending the resolution of his federal court claims, and investigations into the circumstances surrounding his detention, is unsupported law, and violates ICE’s own regulations. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is co-counsel with The Legal Aid Society in representing Mr. Villavicencio.
“Pablo is a contributing member of our great city. He provides for his family and takes care of his community. He has delivered pizzas to the Fort Hamilton Army Base multiple times with no incident. Detaining him obviously did not make us safer. On the contrary, it robbed a family of its breadwinner, placing their lives in unnecessary peril, and thereby showcasing how arbitrary and senseless our immigration system has become. The courts agree, which is why they issued a stay of deportation last week. However, only Pablo’s immediate release can correct for this injustice and we will not stop fighting until this happens,” said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca.