President Donald Trump publicly acknowledged the work of New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) in working for more than a decade to deport Jakiw Palij, the Nazi War Criminal who resided comfortably in Queens, New York.
This year, Hikind brought President Trump’s attention to the issue by calling on the President and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to finally take Palij into custody as an illegal alien and deport him.
While other attempts to remove Palij failed in the past, Hikind argued that Palij was an illegal immigrant and should be treated as such. Hikind presented his case on numerous occasions at the highest levels of the President’s administration, including a letter signed by nearly 100 of his colleagues in the New York State Senate and Assembly. Hikind also penned an OpEd for the New York Daily News that made the case directly to the President, then he released an emotional video about Palij, encouraging U.S. citizens to call the White House and demand justice. The video can be seen here.
Hikind’s requests followed more than a decade of efforts to expose and deport Palij. During World War II, Palij was an armed guard at the Trawniki training camp, where Nazi SS troops were trained to carry out the extermination of Polish Jews and where thousands were murdered. Palij entered the U.S. claiming that he was a farmer and war refugee, concealing his work as a Nazi guard, and was granted citizenship in 1957. After the revelations about his past became known, he was subsequently stripped of his U.S. citizenship, which was obtained illegally and under false pretenses. His deportation order was upheld by the courts in 2004 but until Monday, Palij remained a resident of Queens.
“I never gave up on this issue because Palij’s presence here mocked the memory of the millions who perished,” said Hikind. “There was no question of his guilt. I know that President Trump is a man of action, someone who has kept his campaign promises. I believed that if this issue came to his attention, he would do the right thing, and he did. I am grateful for President Trump’s emphatic leadership on this and other issues, and I know that many Americans will sleep better knowing that the last Nazi has left America.”