KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials received a request to pardon a Polish-born doctor who legally came to the U.S. as a child but faces deportation because of misdemeanor convictions 25 years ago.
Gov. Rick Snyder received the request on behalf of Lukasz Niec and forwarded it to the Michigan Department of Corrections Parole Board, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported Wednesday. He was arrested Jan. 16 for "administrative immigration violations."
Niec was released on a $10,000 bond last week but awaits removal proceedings. Federal immigration officials say the 43-year-old Kalamazoo doctor can be deported for the 1992 convictions dating to when he was in high school.
The convictions were for malicious destruction of property and receiving stolen goods. Relatives say Niec pleaded guilty through a program to help young offenders and was told it wouldn't be used in a deportation, and Niec has said he made mistakes when he was young and has turned around his life.
The agency has said he came under scrutiny after more than a dozen "encounters with local law enforcement," mostly involving driving infractions, after the convictions. He was charged in 2013 with domestic violence but was acquitted.
Niec's attorney, Russell Abrutyn, confirmed the request was submitted in relation to the convictions. He said pardons can affect deportation proceedings.
"There's a provision in immigration law that certain deportation grounds do not apply to convictions that are the subject of a full and unconditional gubernatorial pardon," Abrutyn told the newspaper.
Niec and his wife both have a daughter from a previous relationship. They married in July 2016.
Bronson Healthcare, which owns the hospital where Niec works, released a statement after his arrest, saying it "simply does not make sense" to lock up a "skilled and caring physician." Niec has been on the Bronson staff since 2007.
Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo