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Judge: Pizza Deliveryman Can Stay In Country For Now, Will Remain In Custody

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A pizza deliveryman whose detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers sparked outrage can stay in the country -- at least until July 20.

A judge on Saturday granted a temporary emergency stay for Pablo Villavicencio after the Legal Aid Society filed a petition on his behalf.

He will remain in ICE custody, but the stay affords him the chance to argue his case.

ICE Detains Pizza Deliveryman
A pizza deliveryman was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers during a delivery to a Brooklyn Army base.

"Although we are disappointed that Pablo will remained detained, today's stay is a victory for him and his family, and also for due process and the fair administration of justice," Gregory Copeland, Supervising Attorney of the Immigration Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society, said in a statement. "The Court agreed with our argument that Pablo should be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present his case in Federal Court. This decision is also a reminder that the judiciary can still serve as a powerful check when other branches of government make hasty, cruel and reckless decisions."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security supporting the stay and requesting Villavicencio be released.

"Mr. Villavicencio's expedited removal serves no legitimate public safety purpose and the circumstances leading to his arrest and detention raise serious legal and policy concerns that warrant proper investigation and adjudication," the letter read in part. "Further, his expedited removal will cause significant harm to his U.S. citizen wife and two young children who depend on Pablo for financial and emotional support."

Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter after the stay was granted, saying "delivering pizza is not a risk to public safety."

"Please ICE, do the right thing with my husband," his wife Sandra Chica said earlier this week.

The undocumented immigrant from Ecuador was arrested while delivering pizza to Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn last week. A routine ID check showed an outstanding deportation warrant from 2010.

"He is trying to stay here the legal way. Please don't stop him, don't take him away from us," said Chica.

The father of two has an open green card application, CBS2's Jessica Moore reported.

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