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Pizza delivery man Pablo Villavicencio arrested after domestic dispute

The native of Ecuador was released from ICE custody this summer after winning a stay of deportation.

Pablo Villavicencio, holding his daughter Antonia, arrives home

Pablo Villavicencio, holding his daughter Antonia, arrives home in Hempstead after being released from ICE custody. He was arrested last week after being accused of pushing his wife. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

The pizza delivery man who was detained by ICE while delivering food to the Fort Hamilton Army Base during the summer was arrested after allegedly pushing his wife, prosecutors said on Monday.

Pablo Villavicencio was charged with criminal mischief and preventing an emergency call after allegedly pushing his wife against a wall and "slapping her body" at the couple’s Hempstead home on Thursday, according to the Nassau County district attorney’s office. When his wife, Sandra Chica, then said she was going to call police, prosecutors said Villavicencio took her cell phone from the kitchen counter and held onto it.

Villavicencio was arraigned on Saturday with bail set at $500, and is due back in court on Tuesday.

Chica told police in a statement that the dispute began when Villavicencio demanded the passports for the couple's two young children. He wouldn't tell her why he wanted them; she said she would get them later, she told police.

"This made Pablo very angry," she said in the statement. "He has been increasingly angry since I told him I wanted a divorce."

Villavicencio, an immigrant from Ecuador who is in the country illegally, first made headlines when he was detained on June 1 while delivering pizza to the base in Brooklyn. His case became a cause célèbre as politicians, activists and Chica joined together to call for his release.

In July, Villavicencio was finally allowed to return home after being granted a stay of deportation. U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty ruled that he should be freed while pursuing legal residency based on his marriage to Chica, a U.S. citizen.

“Although he stayed in the United States unlawfully — he has otherwise been a model citizen,” Crotty wrote at the time. “He now has two children, both of whom are United States citizens. He has no criminal history. He has paid his taxes. And he has worked diligently to provide for his family.”

A spokeswoman for ICE said in an email that "as it stands today, because of the earlier federal court decision for a stay of removal, he will not be taken into ICE custody while he has pending immigration applications."

Villavicencio called the United States the "best country in the world" after his release and thanked God "for the opportunity for my life, for my daughters, for my wife."

Villavicencio entered the country without inspection in 2008, was denied asylum and granted a voluntary order of departure in 2010, which he did not fulfill, his attorney has said.

A spokesman for The Legal Aid Society, which is representing Villavicencio on his immigration issues, said in a statement: “The past several months, including Pablo’s detention and threats of imminent deportation, have been traumatic for the Villavicencio family. We are hopeful that this matter will be resolved and that Pablo will secure valid status with the continued assistance of our counsel.”

With Chau Lam and Andrew Smith


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