CNN.com recently ran a piece about Lukasz R. Niec, a Polish citizen in removal proceedings. According to friends and relatives, Lukasz is a great guy. A colleague quoted by CNN says, “He’s exactly the kind of person that our immigration policy should be encouraging to prosper here.”
On the surface that may appear to be true. Lukasz’s parents fled Poland and brought him to the United States in 1979. He was five years old. The family obtained lawful permanent residence. Lukasz grew up to be Dr. Niec. He lives in Michigan and practices internal medicine at a local clinic.
Now U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has placed Dr. Niec in removal proceedings. CNN.com claims ICE “targeted” him for deportation because Donald Trump has “taken a sweeping approach to the definition of criminal” as it applies in the immigration context.
Of course, CNN is dead wrong. President Trump has asked ICE to enforce our immigration laws as drafted by Congress. It was the Obama administration that attempted to unilaterally redefine who is considered a criminal alien – refusing to remove all but the most hardened foreign rapists and murderers.
So why is Niec being placed in removal proceedings? Well, it turns out that Dr. Niec may not be such a nice guy after all. The good doctor has multiple criminal convictions, including:
- Two misdemeanor convictions for, “destruction of property less than $100 and receiving and concealing stolen goods” when Dr. Niec was a teenager;
- A conviction for “driving while intoxicated” in 2008;
- And charges for what com calls “20 other minor traffic offenses” between 1997 and 2016.
Pursuant to Section 237(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, anyone who has been convicted of two crimes involving moral turpitude after admission as a lawful permanent resident is subject to deportation. So the question CNN.com, and all the other critics of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, should be asking is, “Why wasn’t Lukasz Niec placed in deportation proceedings right after his first criminal convictions?”
He clearly benefitted from lax immigration enforcement, that’s why he’s been in the U.S. long enough to earn a medical degree. But should the fact that Lukasz became a doctor earn him a pass on deportation? That’s up to an immigration court. Our system is so reasonable that, prior to being deported, he’s entitled to a full hearing. At the conclusion of that proceeding, its entirely possible that an Immigration Judge may find him eligible for relief from removal and give him another chance to straighten up and fly right.
But one thing is certain, the decision to place him in removal proceedings isn’t an example of Dr. Niec being “punished” or “targeted” because he’s an immigrant, as CNN.com claims. Rather it’s a shining example of the Trump administration’s firm commitment to even-handed immigration enforcement. Despite constant charges by the mainstream media that President Trump is a “white nationalist” (whatever that means), it appears that European immigration violators with college degrees are just as amenable to prosecution as Mexican high school dropouts.