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Enforcement and Removal
01/24/2020

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NYC sanctuary policies continue to shield criminal aliens

NEW YORK — Officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in New York arrested two individuals Thursday after being released by local authorities on an active detainer.

Volodymyr Polovko, a 51-year-old citizen of Ukraine, was arrested by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Sept. 9, 2019 for offenses of 1st degree sexual abuse: contact by forcible compulsion, a felony charge; criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation-apply pressure; forcible touching-touch sexual/intimate parts of another person; and 3rd degree sexual abuse: subject another person to sex contact without consent. On that same date, ICE officers assigned to the ERO New York Criminal Alien Program/Secure Communities lodged a detainer with NYPD’s Brooklyn Central Booking. However, because of the city’s sanctuary policies, Polovko was released from custody without notification to ICE. Polovko initially entered the United States as a nonimmigrant visitor Dec. 21, 2014, and failed to leave in accordance with the terms of his admission. On Jan. 23, ERO officers arrested Polovko and he is currently in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

Adrian Moran-Torres, a 34-year-old citizen of Mexico, was arrested by the NYPD Nov. 20, 2019, on the charges of 2nd degree assault with intent to cause physical injury, 3rd degree assault with intent to cause physical injury, and act in a manner to injure a child less than 17. On Nov. 21, ICE officers assigned to the ERO New York Criminal Alien Program/Secure Communities lodged a detainer with NYPD’s Brooklyn Central Booking. However, because of the city’s sanctuary policies, Moran-Torres was released from custody without notification to ICE. Moran-Torres was first encountered by U.S. Border Patrol in May 2001, after he illegally entered the United States from Mexico. U.S. Border Patrol granted him a voluntary return and he was returned to Mexico. However, he later illegally re-entered the United States, without inspection, against immigration law, at an unknown place and time. On Jan. 23, ERO Officers arrested Moran-Torres and he is currently in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

“I don’t know what it will take for the representatives of New York City to see that keeping their sanctuary city policies are dangerous to the residents of this great city and, in some cases, deadly,” said Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ERO New York. “Their policies continue to shield criminal aliens, allowing them to seek refuge in NYC communities and allows them to continue to break the laws of this country which threaten the lives and safety of its citizens. At some point, the lives and safety of the residents of NYC has to matter over the agendas of the politicians.”

About Detainers

ICE lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.

Congress has established no process, requirement, or expectation directing ICE to seek a judicial warrant from already overburdened federal courts before taking custody of an alien on civil immigration violations. This idea is simply a figment created by those who wish to undermine immigration enforcement and excuse the ill-conceived practices of sanctuary jurisdictions that put politics before public safety.

Sanctuary Policies Put Public Safety at Risk

When law enforcement agencies don’t honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat. Any local jurisdiction thinking that refusing to cooperate with ICE will result in a decrease in local immigration enforcement is mistaken. Local jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with ICE are likely to see an increase in ICE enforcement activity, as ICE the agency has no choice but to conduct more at-large arrest operations. A consequence of ICE being forced to make more arrests on the streets is the agency is likely to encounter other unlawfully present foreign nationals that wouldn’t have been encountered had we been allowed to take custody of a criminal target within the confines of a local jail. Additionally, once these criminals are out on the street, confirming their whereabouts is often time consuming and resource intensive. Many of our arrest targets are seasoned criminals who are savvy about eluding law enforcement. Despite the severe challenges that local policies have created for ICE, we remain committed to our public safety mission and we will continue to do our sworn duty to seek out dangerous criminal aliens and other immigration violators. ICE seeks straightforward cooperation with all local law enforcement and elected officials. ICE deportation officers carry out targeted enforcement actions every day in locations around the country as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety, and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls.

ERO New York’s area of responsibility includes the city of New York, and the following counties: Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/27/2020