An immigrant delivery worker from Ecuador faces deportation after bringing pizza to the Fort Hamilton military base in Bay Ridge on Friday. After being let onto the base around noon using his NYC municipal ID, a soldier reportedly asked Pablo Villavicencio-Calderon, 35, for proof of citizenship, and detained him when he didn't provide it. El Diario reports (translation here) that the soldier then called ICE, which transported Villavicencio-Calderon to an immigration center in Manhattan. He was transferred to a base in New Jersey over the weekend, where he is in ICE custody pending removal.
[UPDATE June 7th: Seven people were arrested at a march in Bay Ridge Wednesday night to protest Villavicencio-Calderon's pending deportation.]
Villavicencio-Calderon had delivered pizza to this base previously, said Bay Ridge Councilman Justin Brannan at a press conference outside the base this morning. According to Sandra Chica, Villavicencio-Calderon’s wife, he applied for a Green Card in February, and it is currently pending. Chica and their two children are U.S. citizens, and Villavicencio-Calderon has been in the country for 10 years.
"A lawyer told me that there is nothing he can do, that he is going to be deported," Chica said at the press conference.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams says “the arrest of Pablo with a municipal ID is sending shockwaves throughout the immigrant community” because immigrants were told they would not be harassed in New York, a sanctuary city, he says. “Delivery to detention is unimaginable.” pic.twitter.com/cttPLZscBn
— Cora Lewis (@cora) June 6, 2018
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was also on hand to call for Villavicencio-Calderon's release. "It was all right for them to take his pizza, but it was also alright for them to put him in prison," said Adams. "Not in America. Not in New York, and not in Brooklyn."
Villavicencio-Calderon was the primary earner in the house and took care of his kids when his wife went to work, writes CUNY professor and advocate Angus Johnson. El Diaro reports that Chica doesn't have any family members to help take care of her family.
"How is it possible that they want to separate the father of two babies... just because he didn't have a document?" Chica asked at today's rally. "The girls will not stop asking for their dad. We talked with him over the weekend. He was crying, and the girls noticed it, and we didn’t know what to tell them. They are the most affected. They are suffering so much."
Press conference at Fort Hamilton demanding the release of Pablo Villavicencio-Calderon https://t.co/Bg1nGzZ2Qq
— AJ Ross (@AJRossABC7) June 6, 2018
"It's unfortunate that the army base here in Bay Ridge, which is in a community that's vibrant with immigrants... is not reflecting its community values," said Murad Awawdeh, Vice President of Advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition, at the press conference. "It's sad that the army has now deputized MPs to become part of the deportation machine."
Alex Pellitteri, with Bay Ridge for Social Justice, announced there will be a march for Pablo Villavicencio-Calderon tonight at 6 p.m., starting at the base and proceeding along Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge.
And yes, the soldiers kept the pizza.
— Angus Johnston (@studentactivism) June 6, 2018
In a statement provided to BuzzFeed News, a Fort Hamilton spokesperson said Villavicencio-Calderon tried to "make a delivery without valid Department of Defense identification." When instructed to get a daily pass, the spokesperson said Villavicencio-Calderon signed "a waiver permitting a background check, Department of the Army Access Control standard for all visitors, an active Immigration and Customs Enforcement warrant was discovered on file" and he was detained. "Commanders are authorized to take reasonably necessary and lawful measures to maintain law and order and protect installation personnel and property."
With Madeleine Crenshaw.