Feds Drop Appeal To Keep Pizza Delivery Man Jailed

MANHATTAN (CN) – No longer seeking to jail the Ecuadorean man whom agents picked up in June at the Army base where he was delivering a pizza, the U.S. government dropped an appeal Friday that it filed just three days earlier.

A group of protesters, one of whom used a pizza box as a sign, gathered outside a hearing in the immigration case of Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, who was arrested while delivering pizza to an Army base in Brooklyn. (Photo by Josh Russell/CNS)

Pablo Villavicencio Calderon had been detained at the Hudson County Jail in Kearny, New Jersey, following his June 1 arrest at Fort Hamilton in South Brooklyn, where the 35-year-old immigrant was delivering an order from the Queens pizzeria Nonna Delia’s.

Earlier this week, the Department of Justice filed paperwork to have the Second Circuit overturn an Aug. 3 ruling by U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty that  granted Villavicencio Calderon habeas corpus relief.

Crotty ordered Villavicencio Calderon’s release back on July 24, finding that he had the rights to advance the process toward legal status that he had already started.

“Although he stayed in the United States unlawfully and is currently subject to a final order of removal, he has otherwise been a model citizen,” Crotty wrote in the 4-page order.

The Department of Justice declined to comment Friday on why it abruptly withdrew its appeal this morning in a bare-bones stipulation.

Villavicencio Calderon is represented by Matthew Forbes and Ann Domyancic from the firm Debevoise & Plimpton, along with counsel from the Legal Aid Society.

The Legal Aid Society celebrated the government’s about-face today, writing: “We are glad that today the Federal Government fully withdrew their challenge to Mr. Villavicencio’s hard-won release from immigration detention and his opportunity to pursue lawful status.”

Along with Debevoise & Plimpton, the Legal Aid Society plans to continue to represent Villavicencio in the process of securing status to remain in the United States with his family.

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