Four migrants who were busted for allegedly shoplifting at a Long Island Macy’s after being bused to the Big Apple from Texas won’t face deportation — unless they’re convicted, sources and legal experts said Tuesday.
The men, who are charged with stealing more than $12,000 in merchandise from Macy’s Roosevelt Field earlier this month, are getting a break because they are asylum seekers, not illegal immigrants who crossed the US border.
“They are given the benefit of the doubt because they have a pending application [for asylum],” Queens-based immigration lawyer Luis Nicho told The Post.
“[The Department of Homeland Security] would normally disqualify you for asylum and put you in the process of being deported,” Nicho said. “But law enforcement are waiting to see how the case will shake out. If the shoplifters cop to a lesser crime, they may still be eligible for asylum.”
The accused thieves — Wrallan Cabezas Meza, 19, Miguel Angel Rojas, 21, Rafael Rojas, 27, and Jose Garcia Escobar, 30 — are accused of driving from Manhattan to the Nassau County mall on Jan. 9 and walking off with the goods.
They were caught when cops pulled over their 2006 BMW, which had bogus plates, according to criminal complaints filed in the case.
In court the following day, Rafael Rojas and Escobar were released without bail, while Miguel Rojas had bail set at $1,000 and Meza at $1,500, authorities said.
Nicho said the Empire State’s immigration “sanctuary” status also plays a role.
“The New York City attitude comes with the territory of them being overburdened and not wanting to cooperate with the feds,” he said. “But they will when it’s a serious enough crime.”
The attorney added, “Without an actual criminal conviction, you’re asking the local police to enforce civil immigration laws.”
“The sanctuary city status helps, with so many advocates in the city for them,” Nicho said.
Additional reporting by Joe Marino