Human rights should have no party affiliation.
That summed up Councilman Justin Brannan’s stand on the fate of pizza delivery man Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, who federal officials locked up and are threatening to deport after Fort Hamilton Army Base personnel did a background check on him and found out he was ordered to leave the country on his own earlier this decade.
Speaking on the latest edition of Brooklyn Paper Radio, Brannan said the lines being drawn — Republicans Dan Donovan and Marty Golden claim the Army workers were just doing their jobs by holding Calderon, and comments posted on our story previewing the show fell along party lines — are the result of a commander-in-chief who has normalized the “us vs. them” agenda.
“When you have a president who wants to build a wall instead of actually fixing a broken immigration system, this is what you get,” Brannan said. “To me this isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue. It’s about a guy who was mistreated when he came into my district, and I want to do the right thing here and get him the help that he deserves.”
A federal judge recently postponed the deportation of Calderon, an undocumented immigrant delivering food for a restaurant in Queens — the latter being a point of contention for our editor.
“So why is Fort Hamilton ordering pizza from Queens?” DiMiceli asked the councilman. “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a great pizzeria here in Bay Ridge.”
When Brannan claimed that the driver had made deliveries before, and that this may have been a catering job, DiMiceli persisted.
“So do they have a catering contract with a pizzeria in Queens?” he asked.
“That I can’t answer,” Brannan said.
Also on the show, DiMiceli and co-host Anthony Rotunno spoke with reporter Julianne Cuba about her ground-breaking work covering the death of Netfaly Ramirez, who was run over by a private garbage truck last year. Cuba obtained the case file through a Freedom of Information Law request, and has been dutifully going through it with a fine-toothed comb.
Listen in now to find out what she has learned so far.
Brooklyn Paper Radio is recorded and podcast live on Tuesday afternoons — for your convenience — from our studio in America’s Downtown and can be found, as always, right here on Brook