(JTA) – The entire New York congressional delegation has sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to deport a former Nazi concentration camp guard. Jakiw Palij, 92, of Queens, was a guard at the Trawniki concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943. The 29 members of Congress representing New York, Democrats and Republicans, signed the letter calling for his deportation, the New York Daily News reported. In August, 21 members of the New York’s House delegation wrote a similar letter to Tillerson.
Palij, who has lived in the United States as a war refugee since 1949, has claimed that he was forced into working as a guard and never actually killed anyone. His U.S. citizenship was revoked 13 years ago after a federal judge ruled that he lied on his application for immigration, but Poland, Germany and Ukraine all declined to take him. “Removing Mr. Palij from American soil will send a message not only to the citizens of New York, but to the entire world,” the letter said. “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.”