It started out like any other pizza delivery for Pablo Villavicencio — but the now the father of two is in ICE custody for deportation.
The 32-year-old pizza delivery man from Brooklyn, New York, was delivering pies to the Fort Hamilton military base on Friday afternoon when staff there asked for his documentation, his wife, Sandra Chica, told El Diaro. But Villavicencio, who is in the country without legal authorization, couldn't provide any valid form of identification, she said, and he was detained until ICE arrived to take him.
Cathy SantoPietro, a spokeswoman for the military base, told BuzzFeed News in a statement that the man lacked a "valid Department of Defense identification" — and a subsequent background check found he had an active ICE waiver that "was discovered on file."
"Commanders are authorized to take reasonably necessary and lawful measures to maintain law and order," SantoPietro's statement said, "and protect installation personnel and property."
He's expected to be deported back to Ecuador, according to Telemundo47, leaving behind his two toddler children and his wife.
Now the mother said she is worried about how she will manage to take care of her daughters — emotionally and economically — if their father is sent away.
“There are no words to describe the drama my daughters and I are going through," she told El Diaro. "In the blink of an eye, life changed for us, and all I am asking for now is that they don’t deport my husband, that they give him a chance.
"... He is the economic support of our home," she said. "I work part time, and we take turns caring for the girls because we do not have family here. I cannot imagine what will happen to us if Pablo is deported.”
Chica, who said the military base kept the pizzas, told Telemundo47 that she tried to get her husband permanent residency in the country last February.
But a spokeswoman for ICE said that doesn't matter.
"That doesn’t affect whether or not he is removable," Rachael Yong Yow told Buzzfeed News. "That case will remain pending even after removal, and if it’s approved while he’s out of the country he will be told as such and be able to come back."
Yong Yow explained to Buzzfeed News that Villavicencio is "an ICE fugitive" because he failed to leave the country in 2010 after he was "granted voluntary departure."
A GoFundMe page titled "Supporting Pablo and his family" has so far raised over $3,000. And a march to "demand justice" for Villavicencio is set to happen at 6 p.m. Wednesday in New York City.
"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," the Facebook page for the event reads. "When someone is unjustly and immorally detained, especially because of a government agency, it requires a strong community response.
"We demand answers. We demand ICE out of Bay Ridge," it continues. "We demand ICE out of NYC. We demand an end to all deportations."