MARCH 10, 2009
A high-ranking immigration official guilty of taking bribes to release illegal immigrants with criminal records—including one who committed murder after being freed—will go to prison for only three years and the government asked for an even shorter sentence.
The former director (Roy Bailey) of detention and removal in the Detroit office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for years accepted tens of thousands of dollars, gifts and favors from immigration attorneys in exchange for the release of clients facing deportation.
Among them were registered sex offenders and violent criminals who victimized innocent Americans after being released rather than deported. Bailey’s most infamous bribe, $2,000 in cash, came from an immigration attorney representing a violent offender named Bashar Faraj, who at the time was awaiting deportation. Faraj was subsequently convicted of murdering a college student and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Bailey also freed two illegal immigrants who appear on the Michigan State Police Sex Offender Registry and were in the process of being deported. Antonio Ivezaj of Milford had served a 1993 prison sentence after an Oakland County jury convicted him of sexual conduct and was put in federal custody for deportation. He gave Bailey more than $5,000 to release him. The corrupt director also freed a convicted sex offender, Salimo Kriko of West Bloomfield, in 2000 after receiving undisclosed bribes from Kriko’s attorney.
Bombarded with the evidence against him, Bailey pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to defraud the United States and failing to report a felony. It seems laughable that federal prosecutors asked for an even lighter sentence—two years—than what he got.
After all, the 20-year government employee repeatedly compromised national security as well as public safety. Prosecutors claim, however, that Bailey’s cooperation merits a light prison sentence. The Detroit federal judge who rejected the feds request pointed out that Bailey’s corruption undermined the integrity of law enforcement and the U.S. immigration system.
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