Man detained by immigration officers after delivering pizza to Army base

Pablo Villavicencio is married to a US citizen and has two daughters. He could be deported to Ecuador as early as next week, his wife says.

(CNN)A pizza delivery man could soon be deported after he was turned over to immigration officials after trying to drop off food at a military base in New York.

Pablo Villavicencio, 35, arrived at the Fort Hamilton base in Brooklyn last week to deliver an order from the brick-oven pizza restaurant in Queens where he worked. He showed his New York City identification card to the guard as he had done several times before, but it wasn't enough this time, his wife says.
Villavicencio, an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador, didn't have a "valid Department of Defense identification" and was asked to get a daily visitors pass, Fort Hamilton said in a statement.
    He ended up "signing a waiver permitting a background check," which revealed there was an active warrant for Villavicencio's deportation and prompted military police to call immigration agents, the base and Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.
    "He was doing his job, he wasn't committing a crime," his wife, Sandra Chica, told reporters. "He wasn't doing anything illegal other than working to support his two daughters."
    Chica said her husband could be deported to Ecuador as early as next week.
    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday the state has secured pro bono legal counsel for Villavicencio. Cuomo said he had talked to Chica and expressed "deep frustration with the federal government's assault on New York's immigrant families."
    New York City Councilman Justin Brannan, a Democrat, is questioning the military's decision to call immigration officials.
    "Pablo never had a problem entering the base before, he had a NYC ID and never had an issue before," Brannan said. "Why was Pablo singled out? What was different this time?"
    "Is our city, state and nation more safe today because Pablo is off the streets?" he added.

    He applied for a green card

    Villavicencio had filed for his green card in February and was waiting for a response when he was detained, Chica says.
    He is married to Chica, a United States citizen, and they have two young daughters who were born in the United States.
    An ICE spokeswoman said his application for a green card wouldn't prevent his deportation.
    An immigration judge had ordered Villavicencio's deportation in 2010 after he overstayed his visa, ICE said in a statement.
    He was initially ordered to leave without an official deportation order on his record but when he failed to leave the country, he was issued a final order of removal -- an order from a judge that a person can be deported and has no more appeals left.
    A final order of removal is a civil, not criminal, charge.
    Since then, he's been considered an "ICE fugitive," the agency said.
    "It's unfair that deportations appear to be the most important thing -- trying to increase (deportation) numbers regardless of the impact they have on families," Chica said.

    A 'dangerous precedent'

    Villavicencio's arrest has sent "shock waves" throughout New York City's immigrant community, including among those who regularly use the kind of municipal identification card that Villavicencio displayed during the incident.