October 04, 2017

Schumer, Gillibrand To Sec. Tillerson: Nazi-Era Guard Currently Living In Queens Must Be Deported Immediately; Despite Having U.S. Citizenship Stripped More Than A Decade Ago, NY Nazi Has Continued To Live Here Because No Other Country Will Accept Him

Nazi-Era Guard Initially Entered the U.S. Under False Pretenses; Although His Citizenship Has Since Been Stripped, the Deportation Case Has Stalled Because No Country Will Accept Him; Schumer, Gillibrand Urge Secretary Tillerson to Prioritize this Case & Make Sure Nazi is Quickly Deported; Schumer, Gillibrand: State Department Should Act Now & Show That U.S. Stands Firmly Against Anti-Semitism, Bigotry & Hatred

Washington, DC -- U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand urged the State Department to immediately deport a Nazi-era guard, Jakiw Palij, currently living in Queens. Mr. Palij was allowed to enter the United States because he concealed his prior service to the Nazi regime. After determining that he had lied in order to enter the country, Mr. Palij’s American citizenship was stripped and it was ordered that he be deported. However, since then, his deportation case has stalled because Germany, Poland and Ukraine refuse to accept him. Schumer and Gillibrand sent a letter, along with the entire New York bipartisan delegation, to Secretary Tillerson asking that he pay personal attention to this issue, prioritize it and take decisive action to complete this already-ordered deportation.

“Removing Mr. Palij from American soil will send a message not only to the citizens of New York, but to the entire world. It will make clear that the United States does not condone hatred and will not shelter those who have committed atrocities against innocents. For Holocaust survivors, Mr. Palij’s deportation will confirm that the heinous crimes committed against them during the Nazi era will never be forgotten,” the lawmakers said.

A copy of the lawmakers’ letter is below:

The Honorable Rex Wayne Tillerson

Secretary of State

2201 C St, NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary,

Last month, many of us reached out to you regarding the stalled deportation of Jakiw Palij, a Nazi-era guard who was stripped of U.S. citizenship but is still currently residing in Queens, New York. A response from the Bureau of Legislative Affairs described the State Department’s efforts to urge the governments of Germany, Poland, and Ukraine to accept Mr. Palij and enable his deportation. As this has been going on for more than a decade, we write as bipartisan, bicameral representatives of the people of New York to ask that you personally step in to settle this long-standing injustice and ensure Mr. Palij is removed from the United States.   

In 2004, after finding that Mr. Palij was allowed to enter the United States by concealing his prior service to the Nazi regime, he was stripped of his citizenship and it was ordered that he be deported. However, because no country has agreed to accept him, Mr. Palij has not yet been made to leave the U.S. despite these rulings. Mr. Palij must be deported immediately. It has been 13 years since Mr. Palij lost his right to remain here, and it has taken far too long for these court orders to be carried out.

Removing Mr. Palij from American soil will send a message not only to the citizens of New York, but to the entire world. It will make clear that the United States does not condone hatred and will not shelter those who have committed atrocities against innocents. For Holocaust survivors, Mr. Palij’s deportation will confirm that the heinous crimes committed against them during the Nazi era will never be forgotten. We ask that you act now, and show decisively that the United States stands firmly against anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred in all forms.

We appreciate your personal attention to this matter and we look forward to your swift action. This man, and the hatred he represents, should no longer be allowed to enjoy the freedoms that America provides – freedoms that Mr. Palij has been enjoying for decades under false pretenses.

Sincerely,