Julio Cortez / AP
A federal judge has ordered the dismissal of an Ecuadorian immigrant who was arrested and deported last month by immigration and customs officials after delivering a pizza to a US Army in Brooklyn
U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty ordered the release of Pablo Villavicencio, 35, of the Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey. Villavicencio, who is married to a US citizen, applied for a green card in February and will conduct an immigration interview next month.
Crotty grants deportation custody while Villavicencio waits for permanent residence.
"Although he has remained unlawful the United States and is currently subjected to a definitive order of removal, he was otherwise a model citizen," Crotty wrote in his order.
"He has no criminal history," wrote the judge. "He paid his taxes, and he worked diligently to take care of his family."
Villavicencio, originally from Ecuador, was arrested on June 1 when he delivered a pizza to the Fort Hamilton Army. He says a duty guard at the base asked for his identification and Villavicencio issued a municipal card, but the guard refused to accept him. The official then conducted a background review of Villavicencio and discovered a pending 2010 deportation order. He was then handed over to ICE officials.
In 2013, Villavicencio married Sandra Chica, a naturalized citizen. The couple has two little children.
Bebeto Matthews / AP
Gregory Copeland, a lawyer representing Villavicencio of the Legal Aid Society of New York, called the verdict "absolutely sensational."
As the New York Times states, "The order came after a morning hearing in which… Crotty, a representative of President George W. Bush and former management consultant to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, sharply questioned the government as to why Arrested Mr. Villavicencio and planned to deport him. "Is there a concept of justice here?" Crotty asked the government's attorney. "
Villavicencio left the immigration center Tuesday just before nine in the evening and was cheered by the Associated Press Wife and two small daughters greeted with hugs, thanking the supporters and the media before being swept away in an SUV. "