Immigration attorney offers insight on recent deportation cases - WNEM TV 5

Immigration attorney offers insight on recent deportation cases

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Lukasz Niec (Source: CBS) Lukasz Niec (Source: CBS)
MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

Family and friends of a Michigan doctor facing possible deportation are fighting to keep him in the United Stated.

Lukasz Niec was arrested last week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The 43-year-old immigrated to the U.S. from Poland when he was 5-years-old.

His family believes his arrest is tied to misdemeanor charges more than 25 years ago.

"I have a lot of empathy for someone here. That has lived here for many years. Basically not legally, but for all intensive purposes became one of us," said Michael Wooley, immigration attorney.

For many, living like an upstanding American does not mean you can stay.

Wooley practices immigration law in Midland. He said with so many high profile deportation cases, even immigrants with permanent residency status are on edge.

"I tell all my clients if you're eligible for naturalization, naturalize at the earliest possible time," Wooley said.

Wooley said unless you are a naturalized citizen, committing any type of misdemeanor can get you deported.

That's why Niec, from Kalamazoo, is currently sitting in a jail cell with an uncertain future. Police said the crimes happened almost 30 years ago.

Wooley said many people don't take the extra step to become U.S. citizens because it can be strenuous, but he said it's worth it.

"Because then if it's done without fraud when it's done you are no longer subject to the immigration laws of the United States," Wooley said.

Other recent cases include a Detroit family man who was sent back to Mexico after being here for 30 years; and an Albanian citizen living in southern Michigan who was threatened with deportation even though he was taking care of his sick wife.

Wooley said despite what it may seem, none of the immigration laws have changed recently. They are just being strictly enforced.

He said if people want to stay in this country it is safer for them to do it legally instead of hoping they won't get caught.

"People really need to protect this really important thing, which is being able to live in America," Wooley said.

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