Washington (AFP) – A US federal judge has temporarily blocked the deportation of an Ecuadoran pizza delivery man who was arrested at a military base, reports said Sunday, in a case that has sparked outrage among pro-immigration groups.
Immigration agents arrested Pablo Villavicencio, 35, at the Fort Hamilton military base in Brooklyn, New York on Friday where he had gone to make a delivery.
He had been to the base several times before, presenting his New York city ID card that carries no mention of his immigration status.
But on June 1 he was he was asked by a military policeman for proof that he was a legal resident of the United States.
When he failed to produce the required documents, the soldier detained him and called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which established that the father of two girls, aged two and three, had been living illegally in the country since 2010.
Though Villavicencio was supposed to have left the United States, he stayed to work, making him eligible to be deported.
Manhattan judge Alison Nathan on Saturday placed his deportation order on hold until another court hearing scheduled for July 20, and he remains in custody.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has taken a particularly harsh stance against undocumented migrants, including those without criminal records and with deep family ties to the country.
Immigration agents have also started making arrests even in courts which previously held “sanctuary” status.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday said it appeared that the delivery man was a victim of ethnic profiling.
US media report that his wife is a US citizen and he has now filed an application for residency.