Immigration agents arrested an Indian national suspected of assault and sexual abuse after New York City jail officials released him in spite of an outstanding detention request, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials said Wednesday.
ICE deportation officers detained 21-year-old Gurnam Singh on Oct. 16, following at least three previous arrests and encounters by New York law enforcement.
After Singh’s most recent arrest Sept. 6, ICE lodged an immigration detainer and an administrative arrest warrant with Queens Central Booking. Jail officials ignored the request, and Singh was released on bond until immigration officers tracked down and arrested him in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens last week, according to ICE.
At the time of his arrest by immigration officers, Singh had pending charges for assault, forcible touching, sexual abuse and harassment, the agency said. He is one of five criminal aliens arrested this month in the New York City metro area that were subjects of an ICE detainer but were released without notifying immigration authorities.
Echoing previous criticism leveled by ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan, local agency officials said that New York’s immigration detention policies forced officers to make the arrests in unpredictable settings.
“At-large criminal alien arrests are among the most dangerous types of enforcement actions ICE officers are engaged in on a daily basis,” Thomas Decker, field office director for ICE removal operations in New York, said in a statement. “These arrests also represent the greatest risk to the community. This level of unnecessary risk can be mitigated in many instances.”
Like many Democratic-led cities, New York prevents jail officials from holding criminal aliens for immigration agents unless the request is backed by a criminal warrant signed by a federal judge. The policy has drawn the ire of the Trump administration, which says the city is protecting criminal aliens at the expense of public safety.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week identified New York City as one of five major U.S. jurisdictions potentially in violation of a key immigration statute, which would make them official sanctuary cities under the Department of Justice definition. Sessions has threatened to withhold criminal justice grants from sanctuary cities that refuse to honor ICE detainers or comply with the statute. (RELATED: Sessions Delivers Ultimatum To Four Sanctuary Cities)
Chicago, another city named in the DOJ’s latest sanctuary cities memo, has sued to prevent the department from carrying out Sessions’ threat. A Chicago federal judge granted an injunction in September, blocking the DOJ policy from taking effect while the courts evaluate the case.
Singh is currently detained in ICE custody, pending a removal hearing before an immigration judge.
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