BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A Polish-born doctor who legally came to the U.S. as a young child was released on bond Thursday following his arrest by immigration agents over misdemeanor convictions 25 years ago.
Lukasz Niec posted a $10,000 bond and was released from a county jail in Battle Creek, Michigan. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say Niec was arrested Jan. 16 for “administrative immigration violations” and awaits removal proceedings.
ICE did not comment Thursday on the status of his case. Individuals in immigration court can be detained for months.
The agency said the 43-year-old Kalamazoo doctor, who has a scheduled hearing on Feb. 22, can be deported for the 1992 convictions dating to when he was in high school.
The convictions were for malicious destruction of property and receiving stolen goods. Relatives say Niec pleaded guilty through a program to help young offenders and was told it wouldn’t be used in a deportation.
The agency has said he came under scrutiny after more than a dozen “encounters with local law enforcement,” mostly involving driving infractions, after the convictions. He was charged in 2013 with domestic violence but was acquitted.
The Kalamazoo doctor and his wife both have a daughter from a previous relationship. They married in July 2016.
Niec’s attorney, Russell Abrutyn, told The Associated Press ahead of the release that Niec’s return “would mean the world” to his family, which has been “devastated without him at home.”
Bronson Healthcare, which owns the hospital where Niec works, released a statement after his arrest, saying it “simply does not make sense” to lock up a “skilled and caring physician.” Niec has been on the Bronson staff since 2007.