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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Feds detain Polish-born doctor in U.S. legally since childhood

The deportation case of Michigan physician Lukasz Niec has drawn protests — including from his local Republican congressman.

ICE officers are pictured in an undated photo.

ICE officers are pictured in an undated photo. Photo Credit: ICE

One might wonder if all the U.S. voters who earnestly see a need for tough immigration policies would welcome the possible deportation of Michigan physician Lukasz Niec.

One might even wonder what President Donald Trump or Attorney General Jeff Sessions would say of it.

Niec, 43, was brought to America by his family as a child from Poland before the collapse of Soviet control there, according to local news media.

By all accounts, Niec grew up in Michigan, went to medical school, and is reported to be what the government deems to be a lawful permanent resident, holder of a green card.

But Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials came for him at home in Kalamazoo on Jan. 16, and Niec has been jailed since on “administrative immigration violations.”

Bronson Healthcare, which runs the hospital where he works, said in a statement that it “simply does not make sense” to lock up a “skilled and caring physician.”

Officials cited his two misdemeanor convictions for property crimes from about 25 years ago when he was in high school.

“Mr. Niec entered the United States lawfully,” an ICE official said in a statement. “He is amenable to removal proceedings as a result of two 1992 state convictions for malicious destruction of property and receiving stolen property, both of which are crimes involving moral turpitude.

“He most recently came under agency scrutiny as a result of 18 encounters with local law enforcement.”

Most were traffic infractions, some more serious than others. He admitted to impaired driving in 2008 and completed probation, and the conviction was set aside as part of a plea agreement.

In 2013 Niec was tried — and acquitted — on a domestic violence charge.

“I’m not sure of anything,” Niec told CNN affiliate WWMT from the Calhoun County jail Tuesday. “I mean, I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s hard to say, but . . . there’s a quite a few people in here with different stories. That blew me away. Mine is probably one of the more extreme ones.”

Kalamazoo is located in the state’s Sixth Congressional District. It’s hardly your prototype of a “sanctuary city.” Trump won the district in 2016 with 51 percent of the vote. Republican Rep. Fred Upton expresses alarm at the Niec case.

“This case, and others like it around the country, tug at the heart and soul of our conscience,” Upton said. “Our focus should be on removing those who threaten our country or have committed grave offenses — not productive members of our communities.”

Colleagues wrote letters to an immigration judge in support of Niec. Family members call it a mystery and a nightmare. As for deportation, they say he has no relatives in Poland now — and doesn’t even know the language.


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