Pizza delivery man facing deportation gets attention of New York governor

Pizza delivery man facing deportation

NEW YORK -- What started as a pizza delivery to an Army base a short distance from the Statue of Liberty is now a national immigration controversy. The governor of New York is now offering free legal representation to a man who faces possible deportation.

Pablo Villavicencio-Calderon, who is from Ecuador, arrived at the gate of Fort Hamilton to make a pizza delivery. He routinely delivers to that Army garrison in Brooklyn. He showed his city-issued identification, and that's when the trouble began.

"He came like always," said Sandra Chica, his wife. "They requested the ID, he showed it, the ID, but this officer told him that is not enough."

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Pablo Villavicencio and his two young daughters. Facebook / Pablo Villavicencio

Anyone entering the base must show military identification. Without it, they must undergo a background check. So the 35-year-old father of two signed a waiver allowing security officials to run that check. That's when they discovered he had been ordered to leave the country back in 2010 for being here illegally. He was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"This is absolutely ridiculous," said Justin Brannan, a New York City Council member. "You are tearing families apart. For what? How are we any safer today than yesterday?"

But it's an issue that's been highlighted by the Trump administration and dealt with by local law enforcement across the country.

"I'm charged with enforcing the law and providing safety for the citizens I'm going I take that very seriously," said Butch Conway, sheriff of Gwinnett County, Georgia.

On Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke with Chica and called the arrest "an assault on New York's immigrant families," and offered free legal representation.

"His main concern is the babies," said Chica. "He was everything for them."