Colleagues of detained doctor come to his defense

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Colleagues who work alongside Dr. Lukasz Niec are coming to his defense after he was detained by immigration officials at his home.

Friends and family tell FOX 17 he was apprehended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last Tuesday and has been at the Calhoun County Jail since. The facility confirms they have him in custody.

While Dr. Niec waits there for his hearing, the people he works with can’t say enough nice things about him.

“Honest, reliable, loving, caring," says Dr. Kwsai Alrahhal with Bronson Healthcare. "Very pleasant person, very easy to be with and very easy to work with."

His colleagues don’t understand why their friend is being detained.

“I have no idea why he is there," says Dr. Penny Rathburn, Bronson Healthcare. "If it stems from those two charges from when he was a young adult, then I think it’s ludicrous and silly."

Dr. Niec has been in the U.S. for nearly 40 years, has a green card and permanent legal resident status. Niec’s family says when ICE agents detained him, they cited two previous misdemeanors he had years ago, one of which was expunged.

An immigration attorney Marc Asch in Kalamazoo says that minor local charges may be seen differently on the federal level. “So, there are crimes that could be classified as a misdemeanor under Michigan law," he says. "But for purposes of Federal Immigration Law, they could be classified as a felony or even an aggravated felony."

Family of Dr. Niec say they're hoping to have a bond hearing for him in early February.

FOX 17 has not heard from ICE on this particular case.

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