Sofyan Eldani. Source: Hueytown Police
HUEYTOWN, AL (WBRC) -
One police department is fed up with the feds. Officers in Hueytown arrested an illegal immigrant on drug charges, when they ran his background they learned this was the 35th time he'd been arrested in Alabama.
And despite his record, the government refuses to deport him. It seems odd, but in Sofyan Eldani's case, the feds say they can't deport him to a country that doesn't exist. Eldani says Palestine is where he's from, a country the United States doesn't recognize.
April 19, 2012
When Hueytown Police Chief Chuck Hagler contacted ICE agents about the recent arrest, he wasn't expecting the response he got. Here they had a man, Sofyan Eldani, who was not only in this country illegally, but had a criminal history that goes back 12 years. ICE wouldn't do anything according to Chief Hagler. "They sent us a piece of paper called a detainer... basically telling him we are going to deport, he said but he'll probably just laugh at you when you give it to him because he knows we're not going to come get him. That's what we were told by ICE," said Hagler.
In Jefferson and Shelby counties, Eldani has been arrested 35 times, all for different crimes ranging from bad checks to assault. Chief Hagler showed us his criminal history, "Seven pages, seven pages. It's not a matter of he came over here ....there was a misunderstanding of our laws, or he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, or there are a lot of reason you could legitimately say somebody might have a brush with the law. There's reason somebody may have one or two brushes with the law. When you start getting into at the double digit arrests you are dealing with a criminal."
A criminal that just happens to be from Palestine, making Eldani a problem of the state of Alabama which is something Chief Hagler refuses to sit by and accept, "This is a legitimate immigration issue, this is a legitimate concern. We see so much attention paid to other issues. I wish somebody would pay attention to this one."
Chief Hagler says he's been through this before with someone they arrested that is Cuban. He says this is a problem that needs to be addressed.
For now, Eldani is behind bars on a $200,000 bond for those drug charges.