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Polish Doctor Residing In US For 40 Years Faces Potential Deportation.

A Polish-born doctor from Michigan, who has been living in the United States for nearly 40 years as a permanent green card holder, could face potential deportation due to two misdemeanors he committed when he was 17. He was detained by American immigration agents last week, reports said Monday.

Lukasz Niec, 43, an internal medicine doctor at the Bronson Healthcare Group hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, was picked up by three Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from his residence on Jan. 16, his family told NBC-affiliate WOOD-TV.

Niec is now reportedly kept at a Calhoun County jail and is waiting for a word on when he will be allowed to return to his normal life or whether he will be allowed to do so at all.

Niec moved to the U.S. with his parents nearly 40 years ago when he was just five years old. His family came to the U.S. from Poland in 1979.

"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," Niec-Villaire, Niec's sister, told (http://woodtv.com/2018/01/20/kzoo-doctor-detained-by-ice-after-40-years-in-us/) WOOD-TV.

However, Niec is now facing potential deportation after living in the country for the vast majority of his life.

"He doesn't even speak Polish. He cannot go back to Poland, a country he doesn't know, he has no family at," Niec-Villaire added.

Niec's detention stems from two misdemeanor convictions from 26 years ago. In January 1992, he was convicted of malicious destruction of property under $100 and in April that same year, he was convicted of receiving and concealing stolen property over $100 and a financial transaction device.

At the time, Niec pleaded guilty to the charges pressed against him. However, he avoided a criminal record under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act since he was 17 years old at the time of committing the crime and was also a first-time offender.

"Now, they're using this expunged case that's stamped 'non-public record' against him," Niec-Villaire (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/michigan-doctor-detained-lukasz-niecs-family-and-friends-heartbroken-over-arrest/) said  adding, "This is a man who's needed in the community and not detained in Calhoun County Jail."

"While Bronson Healthcare, like others, respects the laws and regulations concerning United States immigration, we are following the situation surrounding the detention of Dr. Lukasz Niec closely and are doing everything we can to advocate for Dr. Niec," Bronson Healthcare Group hospital wrote in a statement Monday, the Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/us-immigration-ice-doctor-arrest-lukasz-niec-michigan-kalamazoo-deportation-hospital-a8173231.html) reported.

"We have been in contact with our elected representatives and we have our immigration counsel coordinating with Dr. Niec's attorney to explore all options to secure his prompt release from detention," the statement added.

The Michigan doctor's arrest came as the Trump administration continues its war on illegal immigrants.

Last Tuesday, a Michigan resident named Jorge Garcia was (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/man-living-u-s-age-10-family-deported-article-1.3759520) separated from his family at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Michigan, and was deported to Mexico despite paying his taxes regularly and living in the country for nearly 30 years with no criminal record against him.

Few of Niec's colleagues wrote letters addressed to an immigration judge in support of the doctor.

"It seems like every night we're seeing innocent people being ripped away from their family for some vague immigration laws and a confusing immigration system that hasn't been fixed," Dr. Michael Raphelson, who also works at the Bronson Hospital, said.

Niec reportedly has an immigration lawyer, however, it is still unclear when he would face a judge.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:1U3MI
Date:Jan 23, 2018
Words:618
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