Several restaurants located near an Army base in Brooklyn have decided to cease deliveries to the base after one employee who was in the country illegally was arrested last Friday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
Julianna Oliverio, a cashier at Goustaro deli in the Bay Ridge section of the borough, told New York’s Daily News “We don’t need a problem with them,” referring to ICE. It seems not to have occurred to her that restaurant owners in the area could avoid the problem just as easily by restricting their hiring practices to people who are here legally.
Pablo Villavicencio, the man who was collared as he delivered pizza to the base, “had no criminal record since he came to the U.S. from Ecuador,” according to the paper. Which is not to say he never committed a crime for which he could be charged. He did that when he first sneaked across the border.
Villavicencio, who lived in Long Island with his American wife and their two young daughters, was asked to produce ID before coming on the base.
Without a license, army staff ran a background check on him before handing over a day pass to enter the base. That revealed a past deportation order.
In 2010, Villavicencio had agreed to voluntarily leave the country, according to ICE. But he remained without permission.
Oliverio intimates that Villavicencio committed a blunder which set off the chain of events that could now lead to his forced deportation. “Our guys are not allowed in there at all,” she said, referring to the base. “We don’t tell our guys to go in there. Have them meet them at the gate.”
Reporters interviewed Villavicencio’s wife, who is now is pleading with ICE to release her husband. “In one day, your life changes,” she is quoted as saying. “It’s cruel that they separated my daughters from him. Now I’m going to be alone with these two babies.”
Indeed, getting caught breaking the law can result in harsh realities for the criminal and his family. That is true of any crime. But dealing with the decades-old immigration mess has to begin someplace. The current administration has elected to cope with the problem by ordering ICE to crack down on illegals. The best way of avoiding getting swept up in the net is to take the law seriously.