Father's Day detention: Immigrant's family pleads for release - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Father's Day detention: Immigrant's family pleads for release

Posted: Updated: Jun 17, 2018 1:35 PM
Pablo Villavicencio poses with his two daughters, Luciana, left, and Antonia, in an undated photo provided by his wife, Sandra Chica. Villavicencio is being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which seeks to deport him to Ecuador. Pablo Villavicencio poses with his two daughters, Luciana, left, and Antonia, in an undated photo provided by his wife, Sandra Chica. Villavicencio is being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which seeks to deport him to Ecuador.

Pablo Villavicencio's wife and two daughters spent Father's Day pleading for his release from federal immigration detention.

Villavicencio was detained June 1 while delivering a pizza to Fort Hamilton Army base in Brooklyn, New York, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) now seeks to deport him to his native Ecuador.

But U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan issued an emergency order June 9 preventing his removal. Another hearing is scheduled for July 24.

"When Pablo speaks to our daughters over the phone, we cry. The pain of being ripped away from our family is unspeakable,' Villavicencio's wife, Sandra Chica, wrote in a Saturday op-ed for the New York Daily News. "I'm sure that all fathers reading this can imagine the pain they'd feel missing these important days with their beautiful children.'

Villavicencio remains in custody at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey.

President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have promoted a zero-tolerance policy for illegal immigration.

ICE considered Villavicencio a fugitive after he was granted a voluntary departure to his native Ecuador in 2010 and didn't leave the U.S.

ICE and Fort Hamilton have said that when Villavicencio made the delivery to the base, he was directed to get a daily pass and submitted to a background check that revealed the ICE warrant. He was then turned over to immigration officials.

Chica, 38 and a U.S. citizen, has said that Villavicencio has a pending green card application they filed in February.

"His daughters need him. I need him," Chica wrote in her op-ed. "His absence leaves a huge hole in the hearts of our family and our community. It feels like a death in the family."

She said her husband faced the threat of being deported to "a country he has not seen in almost a decade." She also said he is the family's main provider and a devoted father to their two daughters, the youngest of whom has a congenital heart defect.

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