ICE subpoenas NY for info on suspects amid escalating battle over 'sanctuary' policies

Adam Warner
January 18, 2020 - 6:06 pm
Matthew Albence

Scott Heins/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – The director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is slamming New York politicians for their “sanctuary” policies, which he says are threatening public safety, as the agency issues subpoenas to the state Department of Corrections for info on multiple suspects.

“The policies of the mayor make this city less safe,” acting ICE Director Matthew Albence said at a news conference in lower Manhattan on Friday. “If you’re going to have a sanctuary city policy, just own it.”

Albence said the city cooperated with just 10 of some 7,500 detainer requests for people in the country illegally who were charged with or convicted of crimes.

Albence’s comments come as ICE issues subpoenas to the Department of Corrections to obtain info on four suspects who are currently being held in New York City jails. ICE called the suspects “criminal alien public safety threats.”

ICE said the four subpoenas were necessary because the Department of Corrections has continued to ignore ICE’s request for info.

"Under New York’s non-cooperation policies officials have refused to honor ICE detainers or even provide ICE with information about the release dates of criminal alien public safety threats," ICE said in a statement. "Issuance of these immigration subpoenas was necessary because the NYDOC has continued to ignore ICE’s requests for information and cooperation."

In the statement, the agency's acting director of Enforcement and Removal Operations said, Henry Lucero, said in part: "It's disheartening that we must change our practices and jump through so many hoops with partners who are restricted by sanctuary laws passed by politicians with a dangerous agenda."

Most recently in their escalating immigration showdown, New York and the feds have been in a back-and-forth over the Jan. 6 rape and murder of 92-year-old Maria Fuertes in Queens, allegedly by a man who was protected by “sanctuary” policy.

ICE issued a detainer against Reeaz Khan in November after he allegedly stabbed his father with a broken mug, but the city didn’t turn him over. Fuertes was killed weeks later.

A spokesperson for City Hall has called the death of Fuertes a “tragedy” and accused ICE of exploiting her death.

"Reeaz Khan has been arrested and is sitting behind bars as he awaits trial," spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said. "New York City will not change the policies that have made us the safest big city in America, and the Trump administration’s attempts to exploit this tragedy are absolutely shameful. We will review the subpoena once we receive it."

The city's policy is to hand over a person convicted of one of 177 crimes designated as violent or serious felonies but not people awaiting to stand trial, such as Khan.

In its statement, ICE said it's seeking info on these suspects:

•A 21-year-old unlawfully present Guyanese national, who was arrested on January 10, by the NYPD and charged with murder, sexual abuse, contact by forcible compulsion, and sexual abuse of a 92-year old woman. He was previously released from local law enforcement custody in November 2019, despite ICE having lodged a detainer against him, due to New York City’s sanctuary policies;

•A 26-year-old citizen of El Salvador who was arrested in September 2019, for assault and is wanted in El Salvador for homicide. He was moved to Rikers Island, and ICE lodged a detainer against him. However, ICE is actively attempting to locate him in the community because he was released by NYDOC in December;

•A 38-year old citizen of Mexico who was arrested in January 2019, by the NYPD for attempted rape, unlawful imprisonment and attempted assault. He had two prior arrests by the NYPD for other criminal activity. ICE issued a detainer at the time of his last arrest, but he was released by NYDOC after posting bail;

•A 38-year-old citizen of Mexico who was arrested by NYPD in October 2019, on drug charges. ICE lodged a detainer against him but recently confirmed he had been released and the ICE detainer was declined. Previously, in 2012, he was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison for attempting to import methamphetamine. He has been previously removed to Mexico and currently there is a federal warrant for his arrest for illegal re-entry charge.

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