On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered the immediate release of an immigration pizza delivery boy and described the undocumented Ecuadorian immigrant as an "exemplary citizen" and questioned explicitly the desire of the US government to deport him immediately.
Pablo Villavicencio, father of two US citizens, was arrested on June 1 while delivering pasta to a Brooklyn military base, where army security officials questioned his identification and alerted the immigration authorities. At the time of his arrest, he was in the process of seeking legal status. However, the US government tried to deport him as quickly as possible, causing a stir among both activists and public officials.
U.S. However, Villavicencio's decision by District Judge Paul A. Crotty on Tuesday is gone so that he can continue to seek a permanent residence permit. To deny him this possibility, Crotty wrote in the order, he would violate his rights.
"Although he remained unlawful in the United States and is currently subject to a final order of removal, he was otherwise a model citizen," Crotty, a George W. Bush Appointed, wrote in order. "The petitioner got married … a citizen of the United States He now has two children who are both citizens of the United States He has no criminal history He has paid his taxes And he has worked diligently to care for his family
Crotty's decision came hours after verbal discussions in the case Tuesday afternoon, a hearing that drew dozens of demonstrators in Manhattan federal court. The government argued that Villavicencio could continue its offer for a green card in Ecuador – but Crotty, unconvinced of the government's justification for deporting him, asked what purpose this would do in the interest of justice.
"Well, the powerful are doing what they want and the poor are suffering what they need," he said after hearing several media reports from the hearing. "I mean, is there any concept of justice here, or is it just because we want it, why do we want to enforce the order, and it makes no difference to the larger problems the country is facing."
Questioning Asked about the purpose of Villavicencio's continued detention, he asked, "What is the danger to the community for a man who has not committed a crime?"
A spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in the southern district of New York declined to comment.
Villavicencio illegally entered the United States in 2008 and, following Crotty's request, has voluntarily left the country during an immigration trial in 2010. Instead, he stayed in the country, married Sandra Chica, a US citizen, and started a family. In February, Chica helped him file a petition for foreign relatives, calling on the government to recognize Villavicencio as their spouse. This is the first step in finding a green card. But before the US Immigration Department could process the form, Villavicencio was arrested.
It was a routine delivery, Villavicencio would soon be telling the New York Post from behind bars. In fact, he had delivered pizza to the garrison of the Fort Hamilton Army in the past and had no problems. But on that day, June 1, another security guard working at the gate questioned his New York ID card and found it inadequate.
"He called the NYPD and the NYPD told him that I have no records that I'm clean, Villavicencio told the New York Post." But the man said: & quot; I do not care. & # 39; 39; He said I must wait and he called ICE. "
Since then, Villavicencio missed Father's Day and the birthday of his eldest daughter, Chica said at a press conference on Tuesday, and activists from the immigration law group Make the Road New York spurred the community to his defense and received the support of members of New York City Council and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D), who called Villavicencio's 53-day detention "unreasonable," a shameful affront to our New York values. "A judge had previously stopped his immediate deportation on 10 June at the last minute when Villavicencio had filed his lawsuit.
On Tuesday, Chica and Villavicencio's immigration lawyers, The Legal Aid Society and law firm Debevoise & Plimpton held a press conference to speak one last time for the release of Villavicencio before the hearing. Chica and Villavicencio's younger daughter have their birthday, said Chica. She and the girls could not stand his absence at another.
"Pablo's absence has brought us considerable difficulties," said Chica. "It's not easy to become a single mother in one day, it's hard to be with two little girls, with all the responsibilities I have now, we hope that this nightmare will end tomorrow and my daughters will be back We hope tomorrow will do the right thing, is it really too much for me to keep my family together? "
Crotty stated in his ruling that, because USCIS was at it, Villavicencio's" petition for alien relatives "to violate his rights under the Fifth Amendment and Administrative Procedures Act. USCIS had already planned an interview with Villavicencio, according to Crotty's order. His continued detention was of no use because "the distance is no longer reasonably predictable," Crotty wrote.
If Villavicencio's petition is approved, his next step would be to obtain the "re-admission" permit to the United States illegally. He would then have to receive a "provisional unlawful attendance waiver" allowing undocumented persons to apply for waiver within the United States before traveling to their home countries for an interview at the consulate, shortening the time they are separated their families looking for immigrant visas. Crotty's order allows Villavicencio to try at least these first steps until one of these applications is rejected.
Crotty notes that he intends to publish a formal statement that goes beyond Villavicencio's four-page arrest warrant.
Villavicencio, surrounded by supporters, left the Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey around 9 pm He embraced his wife, and then he knelt down when his two daughters came running toward him. In Spanish and in a fragile voice, he screamed, "I love you," and hugged them both.