Jackson Heights, N.Y. – I am heartened to see that the Honorable Alison J. Nathan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has halted the deportation of Pablo Villavicencio Calderon — a husband, father of two girls and an Ecuadorian immigrant with no criminal history. This ruling is a victory for justice, though small, and must immediately be followed up with his release from the New York field office of Immigration Customs and Enforcement custody.
As the son of Ecuadorian immigrants myself, Pablo’s story resonates with me personally. My family came here looking for the equality of opportunity for which this nation is renowned. Like Pablo did, my family put down roots here, started a family and worked hard to provide for that family. There’s no question that my American life is the product of their American Dream.
But Pablo has been robbed of the opportunity that I so benefited from. On June 1, a branch of the U.S. government sought his services, accepted those services and then threatened him with deportation for those services. This level of unapologetic exploitation and cruelty is baffling.
Pablo’s fortitude is everything America claims to value. Here is a man who risked his own well-being so that when he clocked out after a long shift he could return to his daughters — his youngest suffering from a congenital heart disease defect — safe in the knowledge that he was doing everything he could to provide for them.
This is a man who should be permitted to return to his family and complete his immigration application. I would be honored to call this man my neighbor and I am saddened that I cannot yet call him my fellow American.
Francisco Moya is a New York City Council Member representing District 21, which encompasses East Elmhurst, Lefrak City and Corona, where he was born and raised and remains an active resident. Prior to Moya’s 2017 election to the Council, he was elected to the 39th Assembly District in 2010, becoming the first Ecuadorian-American elected to public office in the United States.