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This week, liberals came across another one of those poster boy, feel-good, illegal immigration stories which draw them like catnip. This one has all the elements of a Hallmark Moments movie of the week script. Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, a pizza delivery guy in New York City, was making his rounds last week, bringing a pie from the restaurant where he works in Queens to the Fort Hamilton army base in Brooklyn. But upon his arrival, a guard noticed that something about his identification card looked wrong. Calderon was detained and it was soon established that he was in the country illegally. ICE was notified and he was promptly taken into custody and scheduled for deportation.
There were more elements which made this the perfect story for the media. Calderon has a wife and children who are citizens. One of the kids has medical issues stemming from a congenital heart defect. And he’s one of those rare illegal aliens who allegedly has no other criminal record aside from immigration law violations. The cries for humanitarian relief quickly went out, and in a matter of days they found a judge in New York who was willing to issue an injunction halting the deportation. (New York Times)
A federal judge in Manhattan on Saturday temporarily halted the deportation of a New York pizza delivery man at least until a court hearing on July 20.
The judge, Alison J. Nathan, of Federal District Court in New York, ruled for the plaintiff, Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, after his lawyers filed an emergency petition earlier in the day. In her order, the judge said federal officials must file court documents before the hearing to explain why a temporary preliminary injunction should not be issued in favor of Mr. Villavicencio, who is still being detained.
Judge Nathan was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011. From 2009 to 2010, she served as special assistant to Mr. Obama and was an associate White House counsel.
Nobody is disputing the fact that Calderon is in the country illegally and has been since 2008. He is not part of any special program allowing him temporary resident alien status. He’s working a regular job, which means that both he and his employer are in violation of the law, with the restaurant either knowingly hiring an illegal alien or failing to perform due diligence in establishing his right to work here.
On top of that, this wasn’t Mr. Calderon’s first run-in with immigration enforcement officials. He was first detained in 2010 and was generously offered the opportunity for voluntary departure. But rather than taking that option, Calderon simply disappeared, failing to show up for his scheduled hearing and going into hiding instead. That made him an immediate candidate for detention and deportation. (Remind me again who was president in 2010?)
Amazingly, the judge in the case is telling federal authorities that they need to show why an injunction should not be issued to prevent his removal. Since when is that the normal order of business in the court? Shouldn’t the burden fall on Calderon’s attorneys to show why he shouldn’t be deported? Yes, he has a sad story to tell as I mentioned above. But plenty of people do. The man knew he was in the country illegally and has been subject to immediate deportation since he was first caught eight years ago. He made the choice to get married and have children anyway, knowing that they were at risk of having their father sent back to Ecuador at any moment. But now a judge is demanding that ICE explain why they are enforcing the law and executing an order which was issued under the Obama administration.
Is Calderon the type of illegal alien who would typically be at the top of the ICE “must find” list? Obviously not. But he was found, if only accidentally, and an established order for removal was being honored. And now, what should have been a fairly straightforward case of arrest and deportation will further clog up the immigration courts for ages, adding to an already crushing backlog of cases awaiting resolution. The press will turn Calderon into some sort of hero, showing what a terrible person President Trump is. (Despite the fact that his deportation order was issued under Obama.) And the Democrats will lap it up like cream in the cat’s saucer.
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