NEW YORK (Sep. 28)
Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY) expressed the hope today that the Senate would soon adapt a bill, similar to one introduced by her in the House and adopted Tuesday by voice vote, to authorize the deportation and exclusion from the United States of Nazi war criminals. She made the statement in a telephone interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from her office in Washington.
The Holtzman bill would close a loophole in U.S. immigration law which has allowed war criminals to enter and live in this country freely. She said that since 1952, when the present federal immigration law was adopted, there has been no provision law was adopted, there has been no provision in the laws to keep out of the United States or to deport those who have persecuted others for racial, religious or other reasons. As a result, she said, a number of persons against whom the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) “has solid evidence of war crimes committed under the Nazis cannot be departed.”
She said her bill would correct this problem by giving Immigration and Naturalization Service officials “direct legislative authority” to act against Nazi war criminals. The measure provides for exclusion or deportation from this country any alien who, under the Nazis, “ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person because of race, religion, national origin or political opinion.”
At present, suspected war criminals who entered the United States under the Displaced Persons Act can be denaturalized if they have become citizens, or deported, if they are still aliens, if the INS can prove they lied about their Nazi records in applying for admission. Appeals from INS rulings can extend the deportation or denaturalization hearings for extended periods. In denaturalization rulings, the federal government must then start deportation proceedings, which are also subject to lengthy delays.
GIVES INS DIRECT LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY
Miss Holtzman told the JTA that her bill would give the INS “direct legislative authority to act against Nazi war criminals” by authorizing the INS to determine whether suspects committed war crimes and were deportable, rather than whether they lied about such crimes on admission. She added due process would still apply under her bill and hearings would still be required.
She said the measure introduced by Sen. Richard Stone (D.Fla.) was identical and was now in the Senate Judiciary Committee. She said members of her staff had been in touch with members of Stone’s staff on the legislation. Asked whether she had any expectation the Senate would act on the companion bill at this session, she replied the Senate has been traditionally slow to deal with immigration law changes.