ICE detains Michigan doctor over 1992 misdemeanor convictions

A Michigan doctor is making national headlines. 

Dr. Lukasz Niec of Kalamazoo is facing possible deportation after having lived in the United States for more than 40 years.

The physician has been in the country since 1979 when his family immigrated here from Poland seeking asylum. Niec has a green card and is a permanent legal resident status. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say he was arrested last week because of two misdemeanor convictions that date back to about 25 years ago.  

His records show he has two misdemeanors from when he was 17; one was expunged.

The family doesn't understand why he's being detained.

Relatives say he pleaded guilty through a state program designed to help young offenders and was told it wouldn't be used in a deportation.

"I've seen the comments that, maybe they're using him as an example that, you know, they're not just going after the Latino population," says his sister, Wona Niec Villaire. "My brother doesn't have an accent; he's a doctor. He doesn't speak Polish, and, to go dig up expunged records, I just really don't know. It baffles me."

The family says the support they've received from the community has been overwhelming. Bronson Healthcare is coming to the doctor's defense, saying it respects immigration laws but also that the doctor is a skilled and caring physician.

Niec and his wife each has a daughter from previous relationships.

Niec is only allowed visitors in jail once a week. It could be weeks or even months until his court hearing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report