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On June 1, Villavicencio, 35, was delivering a pizza in Queens to an army base in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn when a military police officer turned him over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. He was promptly taken to the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, New Jersey. In a background check, it was revealed that Villavicencio, who is from Ecuador, has had an open order of removal since 2010.
Judge Alison J. Nathan of the Federal District Court in New York ruled in favor of Villavicencio, the plaintiff, in Manhattan on Saturday after his lawyers filed an emergency petition earlier that day. Judge Nathan, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011, said in her order that federal officials need to file court documents before a hearing explaining why there should not be a temporary preliminary injunction issued in favor of Villavicencio.
Villavicencio's lawyers argued in a federal lawsuit that he was a victim of racial profiling on the Army place, plus his constitutional rights had been violated during detention. The suit also stated that Villavicencio is applying for legal residency, although no evidence of this has been brought forward.
Villavicencio entered the country illegally in 2008, reports the Times, and he has no criminal record. He was labeled a fugitive in 2010, when he did not leave the country after being granted voluntary departure.
Villavicencio, his wife, and their children have gained the support of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; Representatives Hakeem Jeffries, Kathleen Rice and Nydia M. Velázquez; and Governor Cuomo.