PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Federal immigration officials say a Syrian man was arrested outside a Rhode Island courthouse earlier this month for overstaying his guest visa by 19 years.

A spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement tells The Providence Journal (http://bit.ly/2tjln2o ) agents took 48-year-old Abulkhalek Darwich, of Pawtucket, into custody June 1 in Providence.

The arrest followed Darwich’s court appearance in a 2015 case charging him with tax offenses.

ICE New England spokesman Shawn Neudauer says Darwich entered the U.S. lawfully as a visitor in 1998.

Darwich will remain in custody pending removal proceedings.

Neudauer says it’s unclear why Darwich was allowed to overstay.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island released a statement renewing its call for state officials to protect immigrants from being arrested by ICE near courthouses.


Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com