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News: Top Stories

Wife of detained pizza delivery man pleads to ICE for release

The Hill logo The Hill 6/17/2018 Luis Sanchez

a person standing in front of a window © Provided by The Hill The wife of the pizza delivery man who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after making a stop on a military base in New York City is pleading for her husband to be released.

"Today is Father's Day, and this is the first time my two little girls will spend it without their father, Pablo Villavicencio. They made handwritten cards and drawings telling him how much they love him, but sadly they won't be able to give them to him," Sandra Chica wrote in a Father's Day op-ed in the New York Daily News.

Chica said that Villavicencio's sudden arrest is "suspicious" and that his continued detention is "cruel and unjust."

"His daughters need him. I need him. Our family should not be separated. His absence leaves a huge hole in the hearts of our family and our community. It feels like a death in the family," she added.

Villavicencio was granted an emergency stay by a federal judge last week that blocks his deportation until July 20, when his case will be heard in court.

Chica, a U.S. citizen, said that Villavicencio delivered a pizza to the base - something that he has done before - and was asked by a guard for a valid identification document. When Villavicencio failed to produce one, the guard called ICE to arrest him.

Chica wrote that she has since struggled to care for the couple's children, especially their youngest daughter, who has congenital heart defect.

She also noted that her husband does not have a criminal record and said he is not a danger to anyone.

"He is a good man, loving father and devoted husband. We are trying to make sure that our family remains united by pursuing his green card application. His continued detention serves no real purpose other than to punish me and my daughters," Chica said.

Villavicencio and Chica have been married for five years and in February began the application process for Villavicencio to receive residency status.

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