Governor asks for federal probe of detained pizza man

Erik Mcgregor  ZUMA

Erik Mcgregor ZUMA

"It's cruel", Sandra Chica, the man's wife, said at a press conference Wednesday.

Redmond Haskins, a spokesman for The Legal Aid Society, a not-for-profit organization that provides free services to clients who can not afford them, said Villavicencio has no criminal record.

A statement issued by Fort Hamilton last Friday said Villavicencio attempted to make a delivery about 11 a.m. but lacked identification required to enter.

The couple's two daughters, ages four and three, also are American citizens.

Cuomo said that Villavicencio has been a resident of New York City for over 10 years, and that "he is a working father, a taxpayer, and the primary provider for his USA citizen wife and two daughters, one of whom suffers from a serious medical condition".

Villavicencio was detained by ICE officials on June 1 when he tried delivering pizza to the Fort Hamilton Army Base, an area he has delivered pizza to multiple times.

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When Villavicencio arrived at Fort Hamilton, guards requested identification and he produced a city identification card.When one guard said the card wasn't valid and that Villavicencio needed a driver's license, he replied that he didn't have one.

An Army spokeswoman told The New York Times that if visitors don't have a military identification card, they have to get a pass that requires a background check. A routine ID check showed an outstanding deportation warrant from 2010.

The guards detained him, called ICE officers, and he was arrested.

There were also "conflicting reports", Copeland said, about whether Villavicencio had actually formally consented to a background check. The soldier called the New York Police Department, which told him that Villavicencio did not have a criminal record. "In New York, we stand with our immigrant communities and we will never stop fighting to protect the rights of all New Yorkers". Cuomo said the detention of the pizza shop worker and a recent raid on an upstate dairy farm show "reckless contempt for the constitution".

Pablo Villavicencio, along with his wife and two young American daughters, has become a live chip in the political fight over deportations since he was arrested on a years-old immigration warrant less than two weeks ago. He is in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody pending removal from the country. "He should be immediately released from ICE custody and an investigation should be launched into the circumstances of his arrest". "There is absolutely no legitimate reason to proceed with an expedited removal and to do so would be inhumane". "The proper course of action here is to stay Mr. Villavicencio's removal and release him from detention so that he may reunite with his family and participate in the proper adjudication of his case".

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