NBC Bemoans ‘Nightmare’ of Illegal Immigrant’s Potential Deportation


On Friday’s Today show, NBC correspondent Anne Thompson seized on a story being promoted by New York Democrats about an illegal immigrant being arrested and on the verge of deportation for having an outstanding federal warrant. Rather than acknowledge that immigration law was being properly enforced, the reporter denounced the “controversy,” “anguish,” and “nightmare” caused by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement action.

“An uproar is growing over the arrest and possible deportation of a man after he made a pizza delivery to a military base right here in New York,” proclaimed co-host Hoda Kotb. Thompson followed : “There is great anguish for a New York City family this morning. The father is in federal custody and on the verge of deportation after living and working in this country for a decade….But how that was discovered is the source of protests and controversy.”

 

 

While the headline on screen warned of a “Controversial Arrest by ICE,” Thompson sorrowfully explained: “The nightmare began here, at Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton Army Base, where last week, [Pablo] Villavicencio [Calderon], an undocumented worker from Equador, delivered a pizza.”

She continued by describing how Villavicencio’s immigration status was uncovered:

The Army base says it followed procedure. It sent Villavincencio to the visitor’s center for a pass. There, he signed a waiver for a background check, standard for all visitors. The check uncovered a warrant for his arrest, issued after immigration officials say Villavicencio  agreed to a voluntary deportation in 2010 but never left the country, violating a court order. Officers at the base detained Villavicencio and turned him over to ICE officials.

A soundbite was featured of Democratic New York City Councilman Justin Brannan complaining: “Pablo never had a problem entering the Army base before. He always used his NYC ID and never had an issue before.” Of course that raises the question of whether the military facility was not properly vetting visitors previously.

Rather than address that obvious concern, Thompson touted: “The arrest of the father of two young girls sparking demonstrations outside federal offices in Manhattan.” A clip ran of protesters chanting: “No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here!” The footage on screen showed demonstrators holding up signs demanding Villavicencio’s release, and even one sign calling for ICE to be abolished.

Thompson highlighted another Democrat coming to Villavicencio’s defense: “New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo helped secure a lawyer for Villavicencio, issuing a statement that reads in part, ‘In New York, we stand with our immigrant communities.’”

No Trump administration or ICE officials were featured in the report.  

If Villavicencio knew that he violated a federal court order eight years and then agreed to a background check while making a delivery to a military base, he should not have been surprised that his immigration status was discovered. This wasn’t some elaborate conspiracy to entrap him, but once the authorities saw he had an outstanding warrant, they had no choice but to detain him.

Despite being aware of all of those facts, Thompson sided with Democrats in suggesting that law enforcement should simply look the other way.

Here is a full transcript of the June 8 report:

7:11 AM ET

HODA KOTB: Also on this busy Friday morning, an uproar is growing over the arrest and possible deportation of a man after he made a pizza delivery to a military base right here in New York. NBC’s Anne Thompson joins us now with details on this. Hey, Anne.

ANNE THOMPSON: Good morning, Hoda. Good morning, Savannah. There is great anguish for a New York City family this morning. The father is in federal custody and on the verge of deportation after living and working in this country for a decade. He is undocumented, with an outstanding federal arrest warrant. But how that was discovered is the source of protests and controversy.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Controversial Arrest by ICE; Support Grows for Detained Pizza Deliveryman]

A difficult chore for Sandra Chica, bringing a suitcase to federal immigration court for her husband, Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, who could be deported to Ecuador as soon as Monday.

SANDRA CHICA: I can’t even believe that this is happening.

THOMPSON: The nightmare began here, at Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton Army Base, where last week, Villavicencio, an undocumented worker from Equador, delivered a pizza.

JUSTIN BRANNAN [NYC COUNCILMAN]: Pablo never had a problem entering the Army base before. He always used his NYC ID and never had an issue before.

THOMPSON: The Army base says it followed procedure. It sent Villavincencio to the visitor’s center for a pass. There, he signed a waiver for a background check, standard for all visitors. The check uncovered a warrant for his arrest, issued after immigration officials say Villavicencio  agreed to a voluntary deportation in 2010 but never left the country, violating a court order. Officers at the base detained Villavicencio and turned him over to ICE officials.

PABLO VILLAVICENCIO CALDERON: My daughters, I miss my daughters. I miss my wife.

THOMPSON: The arrest of the father of two young girls sparking demonstrations outside federal offices in Manhattan.

PROTESTERS: No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here!

THOMPSON: New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo helped secure a lawyer for Villavicencio, issuing a statement that reads in part, “In New York, we stand with our immigrant communities.” Meanwhile, a wife and motherleft to calm her daughters.

SANDRA CHICA: They want to play with him. It’s really hard every day to try to look for an answer for them, when they start to ask about him. It’s very hard.

THOMPSON: Sandra Chica is an American citizen. She says her husband had applied for a green card, but ICE says that application has no bearing on his potential deportation.     

KOTB: Alright, Anne Thompson. Anne, thank you.



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