The Pizza Delivery Man ICE Arrested Can Stay In The U.S. For Now — Here's What's Next

by Lani Seelinger
Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

One hallmark of the Trump administration so far has been the increase of high-profile immigrant arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The latest happened last week, when a delivery man was arrested as he tried to deliver a pizza to an army base. For those who have been waiting to hear what happens next for the pizza delivery man ICE arrested, there's been a new development in a story — he's been granted an emergency stay on his deportation order.

CNN reported that after hearing the case of Ecuadorean immigrant Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, federal Judge Alison J. Nathan issued a temporary stay on his deportation order. Without the stay, Villavicencio might have been forced out of the country as early as Monday. With the stay in place, he will be allowed to remain in the United States at least through July 20 — but his case is still very far from settled.

BuzzFeed originally reported that Villavicencio had been arrested after having tried to deliver a pizza to Fort Hamilton military base in Brooklyn, New York. He tried to "make a delivery without valid Department of Defense identification," BuzzFeed wrote, and then in order to get the pass required to enter the base, he had to sign a waiver allowing officials to carry out a background check.

As part of that background check, then, Buzzfeed wrote that officials found "an active Immigration and Customs Enforcement warrant" out for Villavicencio. In other words, that means that he was supposed to leave in 2010, when he was "granted voluntary departure." When he didn't leave the country by the appointed date, this voluntary departure order became a deportation order — which the officials at the military base came upon when they carried out the background check.

Villavicencio spoke with the New York Post after his arrest and explained that the arrest was a surprise, as he had frequently made deliveries to the base using his New York-issued ID card.

"There was a different security guard and he told me I needed to go get another pass to enter . . . A tall man with dark skin started to ask me many questions, he asked me about why I didn’t have any Social Security card,” Villavicencio told the New York Post. “He called the NYPD and the NYPD told him I didn’t have any record, that I was clean. But the man said, ‘I don’t care.’ He said I need to keep waiting and he called ICE.”

His case immediately provoked an outcry both from advocates and in government, with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams calling the situation "unimaginable" at a press conference, as NPR reported.

Sandra Chica, Villavicencio's wife and an American citizen, also appeared at the same press conference, NPR wrote. "This is cruel that they're going to separate my daughters from him. He was supporting the family. Now I'm going to be by myself, along with two kids," Chica said.

Chica said at the press conference that Villavicencio had been in the process of applying for a green card, NPR wrote. Buzzfeed reported that if Villavicencio were deported, that could potentially stop his green card application in its tracks, leaving Chica and the couple's two daughters without their sole provider.

Villavicencio's emergency stay was granted after his lawyers argued that he had been unfairly racially profiled, the New York Times reported. The Times reported that he remains in custody, and his lawyers' next goal is to get him out of detention and back home to his family. For now, they've at least bought some time for Villavicencio and his family, who now have over a month until his next hearing on July 20.