Man Detained While Delivering Pizza Is Finally Freed From ICE Detention

“I’m very happy to be free.”

Julio Cortez/AP

Nearly two months after he was detained while delivering a pizza order in Brooklyn, New York, Pablo Villavicencio Calderon has finally been reunited with his family. 

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of Villavicencio, whose arrest last month and subsequent attempt to deport him by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials sparked national outrage against the government’s crackdown on illegal immigration.  

Describing Villavicencio as a “model citizen,” Judge Paul Crotty on Tuesday granted the 35-year-old father of two a stay of deportation while he goes through the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident. “He has no criminal history,” Crotty wrote. “He has paid his taxes. And he has worked diligently to provide for his family.”

Villavicencio was arrested on June 1 while delivering a pizza order to an army base in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn. Upon arriving to hand off the order, a military police officer demanded Villavicencio show a driver’s license for identification. When he was unable to provide one, the guard contacted ICE officials, who placed Villavicencio at a detention center in New Jersey.

News of the arrest prompted some local restaurants to boycott deliveries to the army base.

“I’m very happy to be free,” Villavicencio told Telemundo in Spanish. “I’m happy to be reunited with my wife and children.”