Pablo Villavicencio, the immigrant delivery driver who was detained by ICE while dropping off pizza at a Brooklyn military base this summer, was arrested Friday for allegedly assaulting his wife and preventing her from calling the police.
According to a criminal complaint, Villavicencio pushed his wife against a wall and slapped her during an argument in their Long Island home, then took her cell phone from the counter so she couldn't call the police. He has been charged with criminal mischief in the fourth degree. His bail was set at $500, and he reportedly remained in custody as of Monday morning.
Villavicencio, a ten-year resident of the United States with no previous criminal record, became a cause célèbre for immigration advocates following his arrest by immigration authorities in June. After two months in detention, he was freed by U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty, who called the attempted deportation "thoughtless and cruel."
Earlier this month, the Department of Justice moved to appeal a court ruling that permitted Villavicencio to remain with his wife and two daughters as he worked to secure his status. But federal prosecutors abruptly dropped that effort just three days later. It's unclear whether this latest arrest will impact Villavicencio's ability to remain in the country as he pursues his case. ICE has not yet returned our request for comment. Villavicencio continues to be represented by the Legal Aid Society.
“The past several months, including Pablo’s detention and threats of imminent deportation, have been traumatic for the Villavicencio family," the group said in a statement. "We are hopeful that this matter will be resolved and that Pablo will secure valid status with the continued assistance of our counsel."
Villavicencio is due back in court on Tuesday. We'll update as more information becomes available.