Federal immigration agents forced to call for backup after residents attempt to stop arrest in Queen
A woman kneeled in front of federal immigration agents and prayed Tuesday as they walked her brother — accused of burglary and reentering the country illegally — to an unmarked car in Queens.
Tensions were high around 10 a.m. on 112th St. near 101st Ave. in Richmond Hill. More than 30 residents were shouting and trying desperately to keep the feds from arresting Hardat Sampat, who is from Guyana.
But the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who swooped in while driving unmarked cars, boxed in Sampat on the one-way street as the driver of the car in which he was riding tried to get away, witnesses said.
“Why me?” Sampat’s sister wailed, according to family friend Melissa Rivera, 22.
The agents were all business.
“They didn’t even look her way,” Rivera said. “They didn’t care. This is what Trump is doing.”
ICE agents took Sampat, 35, to Manhattan Federal Court for processing, where he was expected to be sent to an immigration facility in New Jersey, relatives said. Sampat will be held until at least June 15 and then authorities will decide whether to release or deport him, his sister said. Federal officials confirmed the arrest late Tuesday, saying that Sampat was busted by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations officers.
“He had previously been released from the custody of the New York Department of Correction with an active detainer in place,” ICE spokeswoman Rachael Yong Yow said in a statement.
Police arrested Sampat weeks ago for burglarizing the Rockaways home of a 37-year-old woman he knew on April 9 and on April 30. During the second alleged break-in, he vandalized the apartment by spraying white paint on the walls and furniture, according to court papers.
Relatives said Sampat was on his way to Queens Criminal Court on Tuesday for a scheduled appearance on the burglary charges when ICE agents collared him.
Video taken at the tense scene showed neighbors standing in the one-way street blocking a caravan of federal vehicles.
“You don’t know what kind of heartbreak it is to see this,” one woman is heard saying about Sampat’s arrest.
“I understand,” an ICE agent replied.
“No you don’t; you say you understand,” another woman said.
Facing the growing crowd and blocked in by a car owned by one Sampat’s relatives, ICE agents called for backup. NYPD cops were diverted to the corner for crowd control, but no additional arrests were made.
In February, Police Commissioner James O’Neill issued a defiant memo saying NYPD officers would not assist with Trump’s directive to round up undocumented immigrants or enforce administrative warrants issued by federal immigration officials to pick up people here illegally.
As of April 7, the last time the information was available, the NYPD hadn’t honored any of the 130 detainer requests they’d received from the feds this year. But Sampat was charged with second-degree burglary, one of the 170 felony offenses for which, if arrested, undocumented immigrants could face deportation.
Sampat agreed to be deported to Guyana while he was in a Florida prison facing assault charges about five years ago, but came back to the U.S. illegally to be with his family, neighbors said.
Rivera said Sampat had proof that he was in Florida when one of the burglaries took place — and wanted his day in court.
“He’s a loving father, uncle, son,” she said. “It’s not right. They just took him from his family.”
( Source )