Judge orders release of pizza deliveryman detained by ICE

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK -

A federal judge ordered the immediate release of a pizza deliveryman who immigration agents detained after he tried to deliver pizza to a Brooklyn army base.

Pablo Villavicencio spent more than 50 days in a detention center in New Jersey following his arrest at the Fort Hamilton army base on June 1.

MORE: Pizza deliveryman to appear in immigration court

Immigration officials say the native of Ecuador agreed to leave the country voluntarily back in 2010 but failed to do so.

At a hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Crotty peppered the government attorney with questions about why Villavicencio was being detained in the first place.

"Is he a threat to the community?" the judge asked. "What is the danger to the community for a man who has committed no crimes?"

Earlier in the day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo used similar language when he repeated his call on the federal government to release the father of two.

Villavicencio's wife and daughters — all American citizens — were in the courtroom but didn't speak with reporters after the hearing. 

"Words cannot describe how heavy this has been for everybody," Sandra Chica, Villavicencio's wife, said at a rally for her husband's release Monday outside City Hall.

After Judge Crotty ordered Villavicencio freed, immigration advocates blasted Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Trump administration for what they describe as unjust practices.

"Under this administration, ICE has basically gone rogue — detaining families and separating them," said Yatziri Tovar, of Make the Road New York. "That's why Pablo deserves to be home. He was not committing any crimes when he was detained."

When Villavicencio was finally released in New Jersey he hugged his wife and little girls.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."