Doctor detained by ICE pending deportation despite working for 40 years in US

Donald Trump’s immigration bureau detains doctor living in US for 40 years

'Until this gets heard, which could be up to six months, he could be stuck in a prison cell and not helping and being with his family,' says sister

Maya Oppenheim@mayaoppenheim
Monday 22 January 2018 12:05
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A Michigan doctor who has been living in the US for nearly 40 years has been detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The family of Lukasz Niec, who came from Poland to America when he was just five years old, are now concerned he will be deported back to Poland.

Mr Niec’s sister said the family has no idea when her brother, who is currently being held at Calhoun County Jail, will be released from prison.

“Until this gets heard, which could be up to six months, he could be stuck in a prison cell and not helping and being with his family,” Iwona Niec-Villaire, who is a lawyer, told Wood-TV.

“In 1979, my parents were both doctors, left Poland and took two suitcases and two small children, my brother was five and I was six and they came here for a better life for their kids”.

The siblings, who are now in their mid-40s, have been living in the US for decades on a permanent green card.

“He doesn’t even speak Polish,” his sister added.

According to the news outlet, Mr Niec was convicted when he was 17 on one charge of destruction of property less than $100 and receiving and concealing stolen goods.

Mr Niec reportedly pleaded guilty to the charges under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which helps young first-time offenders keep charges off of a criminal record, but US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not honour the state plea agreement.

“These misdemeanours were just an adolescent making mistakes and learning from them,” she said.

Mr Niec was having a day off with his daughters at his home near Kalamazzo when three ICE officers arrived at his home and told him he was being taken to prison.

“The question I get asked all the time is ‘Why do you think this happened?’ I just really don’t know,” Ms Niec-Villaire said.

Since Donald Trump became president ICE has been engaged in a crackdown on immigration. The agency recently raided 7-Eleven shops across the country, leading to 21 arrests.

Last week, a Detroit father of two, who had no criminal records, was deported back to Mexico despite having lived in America for 30 years.

On the national stage, Democrats and Republicans have been debating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme.

In September, Mr Trump decided to rescind DACA, a programme which protected children brought to the US illegally by their parents from deportation. He set a deadline of March for Congress to establish a legislative solution.

The programme was first started in 2012 by President Barack Obama and has given young immigrants the opportunity to pursue higher education, start businesses, and pursue legal careers in the US.

Senate Republicans and Democrats triggered a government shutdown by failing on Friday to hit a midnight deadline to fund the government. A majority of Democrats voted against the Republican funding measure because it did not include an extension or viable alternative for the Obama era policy.

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