ICE: Doc put on radar after ’18 encounters’ with police

Niec, a doctor in Kalamazoo, was detained by ICE after 40 years in United States

An undated photo of Dr. Lukasz Niec (Courtesy: bronsonhealth.com)


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Federal immigration officials say a Kalamazoo doctor was put on the agency’s radar after numerous encounters with local law enforcement.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement Tuesday that Lukasz Niec was arrested on Jan. 16 for administrative immigration violations. The agency says he can be removed from the country due to two 1992 state convictions for malicious destruction of property and receiving stolen property. He will remain in ICE custody pending the outcome of removal proceedings.

Niec was recently put on the agency’s radar after “18 encounters with local law enforcement,” the release said. Authorities didn’t release any information about the encounters.

24 Hour News 8 found files dating back to 1997 in 8th District Court. There are 22 cases files for 18 incidents. Of the 22 cases, 21 cases involve driving infractions, which include speeding, no proof of insurance and impaired driving.

The only non-driving case is a 2013 domestic violence charge, which he was found not guilty by a jury in August 2013.

Full list of the 18 interactions:

  • Jan. 3, 1997: No proof of insurance
  • June 9, 2004: Speeding 1-10 mph over
  • July 29, 2004: Failure to change address on license
  • April 3, 2005: No proof of insurance
  • June 26, 2005: Failure to stop within assured clear distance accident
  • July 1, 2008: Speeding: 16-plus mph over
  • Dec. 24, 2008: Operating while impaired by liquor and careless driving
  • Sept. 11, 2009: No proof of insurance and seat belt violation
  • July 11, 2010: Drove without due care and caution accident
  • May 5, 2012: Parked within 15 feet of a hydrant
  • Aug. 4, 2012: Speeding 11-15 mph over
  • Feb. 11, 2013: Speeding 1-10 mph over
  • May 7, 2013: Speeding 1-10 mph over
  • Aug. 19, 2013: Domestic violence (found not guilty by jury)
  • Oct. 16, 2013: No proof of insurance
  • April 20, 2014: No proof of insurance and speeding 1-10 mph over
  • June 13, 2014:  Speeding 1-10 mph over
  • Jan. 4, 2016: No proof of insurance

Niec, who has been in the country for 40 years after his parents came from Poland, is an internal medicine doctor at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo.

ICE released the following statement on Tuesday:

“Deportation officers with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested Lukasz Niec Jan. 16, for administrative immigration violations. Mr. Niec entered the United States lawfully in 1987. 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. He will remain in ICE custody pending the outcome of removal proceedings.

“As ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”

“ON BACKGROUND:
“ICE is legally prohibited from removing individuals who are lawful permanent residents of the United States if they have not been convicted of an aggravated felony, a domestic violence crime, drug or weapons offenses or crimes of moral turpitude, as outlined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

“A lawful permanent resident can be deported from the United States if the following occurs:

  • Conviction of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT) committed within 5 years of admission to the U.S. or within 5 years of his adjustment of status, and the conviction carries a possible sentence of one year or more in prison. A CIMT is a crime against a person (such as assault), fraud, perjury, robbery, theft and bribery. A CIMT can be either a misdemeanor or a felony – it is the length of the sentence that determines deportability.
  • Conviction of two or more CIMTs, regardless of length of time in the U.S.
  • Conviction for domestic violence, violation of an order of protection, most drug or weapons charges, false claim to U.S. citizenship, or unlawful voting at any time after entry to the U.S.
  • Conviction of an aggravated felony at any time after entry to the U.S., such as murder, sexual abuse against a minor, weapons trafficking, explosives, trafficking in narcotics, etc.
  • Congress has amended the definition of aggravated felony over time to add additional crimes. This means that some aliens who were convicted of crimes that were not defined as aggravated felonies in the past are now considered aggravated felons, and therefore deportable if encountered by ICE.
  • All LPRs go before an immigration judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). The immigration judge makes the ultimate determination about whether or not that individual is removable from the country. If the judge revokes an LPR’s status and orders him or her removed from the country, ICE then carries out the judge’s order.”

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, released this statement on the situation Tuesday:

“This case, and others like it around the country, tug at the heart and soul of our conscience. It is why we must legislatively fix our broken immigration system. Our focus should be on removing those who threaten our country or have committed grave offenses not productive members of our communities. I raised Dr. Niec’s situation with dozens of colleagues and in our bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus meeting this past weekend. It’s clear we must work together on these issues now more than ever.

“The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits our office from divulging details of our work on this ongoing situation. However, Dr. Niec has now signed a privacy release form that does allow us to work with his legal team in a constructive way.

“The anxiety and fear that Dr. Niec and his family must be experiencing is unfathomable. He is clearly a much-respected member of our community and we will continue to work with all involved on a resolution.”