Previously detained immigrant arrested for domestic incident

Posted: Updated:
HEMPSTEAD -

The Hempstead immigrant who became the focus of a national deportation debate after he was detained by ICE while delivering pizza has been arrested in connection to an alleged domestic incident.

Pablo Villavicencio, 35, was first taken into custody by immigration officials back in June after making a pizza delivery to a military base in Brooklyn. The government had said that a routine check showed he was in the country illegally, and he was detained for more than 50 days.

Activists rallied around his case, and a federal judge ultimately ordered he be released and allowed to remain in the country while seeking legal status.

Now the married father of two is facing a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief stemming from a domestic incident last Thursday at his Hempstead home. According to court papers, Villavicencio was having an argument with his wife when he allegedly pushed and slapped her.

Bruce Barket, Villavicencio's defense attorney, says, "If you look at her statement, that is not what she says happened." He would not elaborate.

The complaint also says that when the woman indicated she was going to call the police, "the defendant then removed the complainant's cellular phone from the kitchen counter, preventing her from contacting the police."

Barket suggests the case is linked to Villavicencio's immigration troubles.

"But for our client's notoriety this case would be, I think fair to say, dismissed in short order," he says.

Villavicencio was arraigned on Saturday and bail was set, but because there is an immigration hold on him he's being held at the Nassau County jail until his court date on Tuesday.

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