BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Two Queens men were among the 225 individuals arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers last week for allegedly violating United States immigration laws.
A 57-year-old Jamaica man was arrested due to convictions of first degree sexual abuse after having sexual contact with a child under age 14. The man hails from the island of Jamaica.
A 56-year-old Haitian man from East Elmhurst was arrested due to convictions of second degree manslaughter, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. He was previously sentenced to four to 12 years in prison.
The arrests took place from April 9 to 14, during which more than 180 immigrants who were convicted criminals or had criminal charges pending were swept up by ICE. More than 80 of them had been issued a final order of removal and failed to leave the country, while others had previously been removed from the United States and returned illegally.
“ICE continues to face significant obstacles with policies created by local officials, which hinder cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement,” said Thomas R. Decker, the field office director for Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO) New York. “Yet, with the tireless efforts of the men and women of ICE, this operation was a great success. The fact is that a so-called “sanctuary city” does not only provide refuge to those who are here against immigration law, but also provides protections for criminal aliens, who prey on the people in their own communities by committing crimes at all levels. ICE is committed to enforcing the immigration laws set forth by Congress with integrity, despite the push-back and rhetoric within the city they serve.”
According to ICE, the individuals who were facing jail time would have been immediately turned over by local authorities following their release from jail to ICE. However, as a result of New York City being a sanctuary city—which does not honor ICE detainers—the individuals are instead released to the public after serving jail time. “This is deeply disturbing,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz of ICE’s arrests in Queens. “In a sanctuary city like New York, the persistent presence of ICE agents and the arrests of immigrants outside courthouses are unacceptable and must cease. It creates a chilling effect on regular responsibilities and deepens divisions and mistrust of law enforcement, which jeopardizes safety and obstructs justice for all, including those who aren’t even the direct targets of ICE. There is far more harm than good when igniting widespread fears and deterring people from showing up to scheduled court appearances. Courthouses, just as schools and hospitals, must be off-limits to ICE and federal immigration agents.”
Those who were arrested by ICE during last week’s raids are subject to federal criminal prosecutions and either removal from the United States or a hearing before an immigration judge.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, email@example.com or @reporter_ariel.