Pablo Villavicencio-Calderón’s life was turned upside down nearly in early June when he tried to deliver a pizza to the Fort Hamilton military base in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Though he had done this several times before, on this day, a military officer called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the man, despite the fact that he presented his IDNYC Municipal ID. The agency detained and transferred him to an immigration detention center in New Jersey, where he faced possible deportation, even though he had applied for a Green Card in February. On Tuesday, his family received good news about his case: A federal judge granted a stay of deportation as his Green Card application is processed.
During arguments, US District Judge Paul Crotty asked, “Is there any concept of justice or are we just doing what we want here?” The judge, who questioned whether Villavicencio-Calderón was a threat to the nation or a flight risk, didn’t hold back during the hearing. He added, “The powerful are doing what they want, and the poor are suffering what they must.”
Before this decision, his wife, Sandra Chica said that the family didn’t have any options to stop his deportation. “A lawyer told me that there is nothing he can do, that he is going to be deported,” she said.
He remained in ICE custody for 53 days – a period of time that impacted the lives of his wife and two young daughters. With the stay, the Ecuadorian man was immediately released.