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Friday, December 29, 2017

Gillibrand urges German ambassador to help deport Nazi-era guard living in Queens

All WNY News     Friday, December 29, 2017    

PRESS RELEASE


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sent a letter urging German Ambassador Peter Wittig to work with the U.S. Department of State to immediately resolve the long-standing issue of the Nazi-era guard, Jakiw Palij, currently living in Queens, NY. 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. Recently, Gillibrand led a letter with every member of the bicameral New York delegation in Congress to U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson expressing deep concern over this issue.

“This letter is to add my strong support for the State Department’s efforts to press on this issue, and to ensure that the voices of my constituents are heard. My constituents have made clear that Mr. Palij is not welcome in our state. They agree that he lost his right to remain here when the brutal past he tried so hard to hide was revealed in an American courtroom. They have no doubt that Mr. Palij must be deported immediately. Together, the United States and Germany can show the world that Mr. Palij’s crimes have not been forgotten,” Senator Gillibrand wrote in her letter to Ambassador Wittig. “We can show that we have learned from the past and stand together today against anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred in all forms.”

A copy of the Senator’s letter to the German Ambassador is below:

December 27, 2017
The Honorable Mr. Peter WittigAmbassador of the Federal Republic of GermanyEmbassy of the Federal Republic of Germany4645 Reservoir Road NWWashington, DC 20007 
Dear Ambassador Wittig,
I would like to draw your attention to the case of Mr. Jakiw Palij, a Nazi-era guard who is currently residing in Queens, New York. As described in a December 16 article in the Washington Post, a federal judge stripped Mr. Palij of his U.S. citizenship in 2003, after it was found that he entered the United States by concealing his prior service to the Nazi regime. A year later, a U.S. immigration judge ordered that Mr. Palij be deported from the United States. However, because no country – including Germany – has agreed to accept him, Mr. Palij has not yet been removed from the United States. Sadly, he remains, unwelcome, in the state I represent.

Recently, every member of the bicameral New York delegation in Congress came together to send a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson expressing our deep concern over this issue. In response, we were told that senior State Department officials met recently in Berlin with their German Ministry of Interior counterparts to re-iterate the U.S. request for Mr. Palij’s removal to Germany. I was dismayed to hear that Germany still refuses to accept this proven Nazi collaborator.
This letter is to add my strong support for the State Department’s efforts to press on this issue, and to ensure that the voices of my constituents are heard. My constituents have made clear that Mr. Palij is not welcome in our state. They agree that he lost his right to remain here when the brutal past he tried so hard to hide was revealed in an American courtroom. They have no doubt that Mr. Palij must be deported immediately. Together, the United States and Germany can show the world that Mr. Palij’s crimes have not been forgotten. We can show that we have learned from the past and stand together today against anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred in all forms.

I ask that you do everything in your power to urge your government to work with our State Department to resolve this long-standing issue, and I thank you very much for your consideration.
Sincerely,

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