WSW: What Is A Police Encounter? And Should It Lead To Deportation?

Jan 29, 2018

Kalamazoo residents Erum and Seema Shah rallying for immigrant and Muslim rights at Bronson Park - file photo
Credit Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

The Managing Attorney for the Kalamazoo-based Michigan Immigrant Rights Center says there are many ways to come to the attention of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Susan Reed says that includes applying for citizenship or a green card.

Reed says someone who applies for citizenship and is not eligible, can find themselves subject to deportation. She says applying for a green card can also get the attention of ICE.

The case of Kalamazoo doctor Lukasz Niec has brought attention to the ways that people can end up under investigation by ICE. Two criminal convictions from the 1990’s have made Niec subject to possible deportation. Reed says that is the “basic framework” of the immigration system that criminal convictions from years ago can be used as justification for deportation.

"If that doesn't seem fair, well welcome to immigration system."

Reed calls it “chilling” that so-called “police encounters” brought Niec to the attention of ICE. Those 18 encounters includes several traffic tickets. He was also tried, but found not guilty of domestic violence in 2013. But Reed says it raises question about what a police encounter is. Could it include questioning by police? Or not answering questions? “Our constitution promises us due process.”

A Detroit area man was recently deported to Mexico after living in the U.S. for 30 years. Jorge Garcia came to the United States when he was 10. But Reed says Garcia was too old to benefit from President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA order signed in 2012. Reed says “If that doesn’t seem fair, well welcome to immigration system.”