On Monday, ICE raided the home of a 95-year-old man suspected of being the last known Nazi collaborator living in the US, and deported him to Germany after placing him under arrest.
"To protect the promise of freedom for Holocaust survivors and their families, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump threatens ex-intel official's clearance, citing comments on CNN Protesters topple Confederate monument on UNC campus Man wanted for threatening to shoot Trump spotted in Maryland MORE prioritized the removal of Palij", said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, adding that Trump and his team engaged in "extensive negotiations" with Germany on a deportation agreement.
Palij became a USA citizen in 1957, but in 2001 admitted to Justice Department investigators his past role as a Nazi labor camp guard in German-occupied Poland.
The deportation of the 95-year-old former concentration camp guard, Jakiw Palij, came 25 years after investigators first confronted him about his World War II past and he admitted lying to get into the United States, claiming he spent the war as a farmer and factory worker.
"In 2001, Palij admitted to officials at the Department of Justice that he trained in 1943 at the Nazi SS Training Camp in Trawniki, in German-occupied Poland". A NY immigration judge revoked Palij's US citizenship and ordered him to be deported in 2005.
Palij, who lived in Queens in New York City, was investigated and denaturalized more than a decade ago.
Palij served as a guard at the Trawniki Labor Camp, where 6,000 Jewish men, women and children were shot dead on November 3, 1943, in one of the single largest massacres of the Holocaust, the White House said.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who yesterday visited the Auschwitz camp, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "Germany, in whose name the worst injustice was perpetrated under the Nazis, is confronting its moral obligations".
Palij was born in 1923 in what was then Poland and is now Ukraine.
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His deportation is the first for a Nazi war crimes suspect in the USA since 2009 when Germany agreed to take John Demjanjuk, a retired autoworker living in OH, who was accused of serving as a Nazi guard.
ABC News video showed federal agents carrying Palij out of his Queens apartment on a stretcher sometime during the day Monday.
Palij was the last Nazi war criminal believed to be in the United States, and the government was trying to get him deported before he died here.
Palij had lived in Queens, N.Y., for years, even after admitting he lied to gain entry to the U.S.by claiming he spent the war working on a farm and in a factory. He was eventually granted USA citizenship in 1957.
A USA judge ordered his deportation in 2004, but the order was enforced only this week.
"I'm glad this man is finally being sent back", Schumer said. Palij has denied participating in any war crimes. Of the rest, 28 died while their cases were pending and 9 were ordered deported but died in the USA because no other country was willing to take them.
Authorities believed he was the last Nazi collaborator still living in the United States, and his residence in the Queens area of New York City attracted protests from residents. But for years, no country would take him in.
It is unclear what, if any, legal proceedings the 95-year-old Palij may face in Germany.
In reality, officials say, he played an essential role in the Nazi program to exterminate Jews in German-occupied Poland, as an armed guard at Trawniki.