Governor Cuomo: "ICE's treatment of Mr. Villavicencio is un-American and a blatant abuse of power."
Governor Cuomo Also Calls for Public Update on Demand to Investigate Constitutional Violations and Apparent Profiling by ICE Agents
Governor Cuomo today issued an open letter to Deputy Director and Acting Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Ronald D. Vitiello demanding the release of Pablo Villavicencio, who was detained on June 1 while delivering pizza at Fort Hamilton. The letter also calls for a public update on the Governor's demand for the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General to investigate the conduct of ICE agents.
The full text of the letter is available below:
Dear Acting Director Vitiello:
It has been over a month since Mr. Villavicencio was detained while doing his job and locked away. Mr. Villavicencio has no criminal record, and yet ICE ripped him from his wife and two daughters and took away his liberty. ICE's treatment of Mr. Villavicencio is un-American and a blatant abuse of power.
I am writing to demand the immediate release of Mr. Villavicencio. Where is the due process? Where is the humanity? My administration has and continues to support Mr. Villavicencio's case, and it is unconscionable that the federal government would continue to lock him up as his case is adjudicated in the courts.
This human rights abuse is just the latest in a frightening pattern of disgraceful and, in many cases, illegal tactics used by ICE. The Trump administration's separation policy is a moral outrage, and we have joined with other states to protect the constitutional rights of the families and immediately reunify children with their parents. The case of Yeni Maricela Gonzalez Garcia, who was released from detention but is still waiting to be reunited with her children, underscores the shocking cruelty of this federal government.
I have also made it very clear that ICE's recent conduct has no place in New York. In April, I issued a cease and desist letter to ICE to demand the immediate stop of their reckless and unconstitutional enforcement actions, and we continue to closely monitor ICE activities in the State of New York and are prepared to take legal action.
Moreover, in the wake of the arrest of Mr. Villavicencio and reports of other concerning actions by ICE, I called on the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General to investigate the conduct of ICE agents for violations of constitutional rights and targeting people based on their ethnicity. Today I am calling for a public update on the status of that investigation.
Across the nation, Americans are rising up demanding an end to ICE's injustices and a restoration of our American values. In New York, we have not forgotten our ideals or lost sight of what's right. And we will not sit silently by as this federal administration launches an assault on the immigrant community.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
John V. Kelly, Acting Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security