Judge Halts Deportation of Pizza Delivery Man—For Now

Erik Mcgregor/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

A federal judge in New York has temporarily halted the deportation of a pizza delivery driver who was detained earlier this month while out on a delivery. 

Lawyers for Pablo Villavicencio Calderon announced the emergency petition to stay on Saturday. The 35-year-old father of two will be detained at an Immigration and Custom enforcement facility in New Jersey until July 20, when a court hearing will be held. 

“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 for Legal Aid’s Immigration Law Unit, said. “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.”

Villavicencio was arrested on June 1 while making a pizza delivery from a Queens restaurant to an army base in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn. But when he showed up to drop off the order, a guard asked Villavicencio for identification. According to Villavicencio’s wife, the guard demanded Villavicencio present a driver’s license. Unable to show the guard anything but a city identification card, his wife says the guard then contacted ICE officials who detained him.

News of the arrest sparked swift outrage. Soon after, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he had secured pro-bono legal counsel for Villavicencio. He slammed the detainment as an “outrageous affront” to New York values.

“Mr. Villavicencio is a father and loving husband, and his detention doesn’t make us any safer,” Cuomo said in a statement. “In New York, we stand with our immigrant communities and we will never stop fighting to protect the rights of all New Yorkers.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend