Lukasz Niec speaks out after release on bond
KALAMAZOO, Mich. —
Dr. Lukasz Niec, the Polish-born doctor released from jail after being arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at his home two weeks ago sat down with Newschannel 3's Mike Krafcik for a one on one interview.
Niec is thankful that the judge granted him bond, allowing to fight his case as a free man from the comforts of his own home.
Niec, an internal medicine specialist at Bronson Healthcare, plans to return to work next week.
Although his legal battles aren't over, He is optimistic that he will be able to stay in America.
Rachelle Niec said, “I think you did a walk-through, this is my house."
Niec is re-united with his step-daughter and wife.
He said, “Obviously when you get into a tough time it either splits you apart or brings you closer together. I think it's made our relationship better.”
The last two weeks sitting in a Calhoun county jail cell Niec was filled with uncertainty, not knowing when he would be able to go home.
He said, “I just never knew about these laws. That was the biggest thing, the anxiety of it's not like a typical case.”
Niec is a permanent green card holder, but not U.S. citizen.
ICE says two misdemeanor convictions from when Niec was 17-years-old are enough to deport him.
Niec said, “I guess I probably should have citizenship earlier, because I would have not been in this. I never expected it.”
The next step for him is pursing possible citizenship, but in the meantime, he waits to see what will happen in immigration court. A judge hasn't set a date for his next hearing.
He said, “I'm hopeful and optimistic.”
Niec believes the national attention brought to his case is helping. He has received lots of support and showed letters he received while detained.
He said, “I had letters from parent’s families that supported me and thanked me. Told me to hang in there and gave me lots of support.”
Through it all, Niec harbors no ill will for the agency that turned his life upside down.
He said, “I don't blame ICE. I didn't even know what ICE was before I came here, just thought as a green card I had similar rights as a U.S. citizen.”
The ICE arrest was triggered by a recent child abuse allegation by the mother of Niec's 6-year-old daughter, but he was never charged.
A Child Protective Service hearing is scheduled later this month. He believed the outcome of that hearing will shape how the immigration case will go moving forward.