A family in Kalamazoo is heartbroken after Lukasz Niec was arrested by three ICE agents earlier this week.
Niec is originally from Poland and has lived in the US for 40 years. He is a permeant green card holder.
“We need him here and we’re lonely without him,” said Rachelle Burkhart-Neic, Neic’s wife.
Burkhart-Niec said her husband was ripped away from their family when three ICE agents came to their front door on Tuesday, Jan. 16 and took him away in handcuffs.
“I received a phone call from Luckasz that he and been detained,” Burkhart-Neic said. “I kept saying over and over to stop pranking me.”
The man described as a loving father to his daughters and step-daughter and a well-regarded physician at Bronson Methodist Hospital could possibly face deportation back to Poland.
“He cannot deported back to Poland, a country he doesn’t know, a country he has no family at,” Burkhart-Neic said.
Neic’s sister believes the ICE arrest stemmed from a misdemeanor arrest for property damage that he pled guilty to in 1992 when he was 17.
At the time, the family said he wasn’t notified it could be used in a deportation.
“Now they’re using this punished case that’s stamped ‘non-public’ record against him,” said Iwona Niec-Villaire, Niec’s sister.
Neic worked as an internal medicine physician at Bronson Methodist Hospital.
“He’s a leading physician among the team, he helps and supports,” said Hussein Akl, a hospitalist at Bronson Methodist Hospital. “He’s just one of the better people you can know and connect with.”
Several colleagues wrote letters addressed to an immigration judge in support of Neic.
“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,” said Dr. Michael Raphelson, who works at the Bronson Methodist Hospital.
“This is a man who’s needed in the community and not detained in Calhoun County Jail,” Niec-Villaire said.
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