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Terrorizing of Immigrant Community Continues as ICE Arrest of Pizza Delivery Man Sends 'Shock Waves'

Pablo Villavicencio presented a city ID card while delivering a pizza to a military base—but a soldier deemed the ID insufficient and called ICE to detain him

Pablo Villavicencio, an undocumented immigrant who has worked as a pizza delivery man in Brooklyn, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Friday, June 1, the same day immigrant rights advocates gathered in New York to protest the Trump administration's cruel immigration policies. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Local officials in New York are demanding the release of a man who was arrested after a soldier at a U.S. military base called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the pizza delivery man while he was working in Brooklyn earlier this week.

The arrest of Pablo Villavicencio—who is married to a U.S. citizen and is the father of two young daughters—was "sending shock waves throughout the immigrant community," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at a press conference on Wednesday.

Villavicencio was delivering a pizza to Fort Hamilton Army Base on Friday, June 1, when a soldier asked to see his identification. According to City University of New York professor Angus Johnston, Villavicencio presented a New York City ID card, which was introduced in 2015 to benefit community members who are unable to apply for driver's licenses, including undocumented immigrants. When the ID he presented was deemed insufficient, the soldier called immigration officials to detain him.

Villavicencio reportedly had a green card application underway at the time of his arrest.

His wife, Sandra Chica, attended a press conference held by Adams and City Council member Justin Brannan outside Fort Hamilton. She has raised concerns that her husband will be deported to his home country of Ecuador if quick action is not taken.

"How is it possible that now, in New York City, soldiers are changing their role to that of intermediaries for immigration agents?" Chica said to the Spanish-language newspaper El Diario.

In the sanctuary city of New York, undocumented immigrants are supposed to be protected from arrest if they report crimes. But still, under President Donald Trump, arrests of undocumented immigrants who have commited no crime have more than tripled.

A march in support of Villavicencio is planned for Wednesday evening, and his wife has set up a Go Fund Me account to gather donations for the family.

"We are outraged by the fact that an agency whose job is to keep us 'safe' would directly contribute to harming a fellow human being who was simply doing his job," wrote the march's co-organizers, including South Brooklyn Democratic Socialists of America, Fight Back Bay Ridge, and South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance. "When someone is unjustly and immorally detained, especially because of a government agency, it requires a strong community response."

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