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Ins Promises to Move Against Ex-nazis

August 4, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), under heavy Congressional pressure to speed the investigation and deportation action against more than 100 alleged Nazi war criminals living in the United States, said today it is on firmer ground now to expedite proceedings against them.

The promise to do so came at a House subcommittee hearing that followed an investigation started last April by the General Accounting Office (GAO). whether officials of the Justice Department, the parent agency of the INS, or other U.S. officials deliberately blocked action against the alleged Nazi criminals. The GAO is an arm of Congress.

Under questioning by Rep. Joshua Eilberg (D. Pa.), who described the INS role over the past 25 years as “disgraceful,” the new INS commissioner, Leonel J. Castillo, told the subcommittee that the files of the Nazis will be opened both to the GAO and to the subcommittee’s own personnel.

Castillo testified that new procedures had been set up that will bring “all existing files and materials connected with the Nazi war criminal program” from New York and other district offices to the central office in Washington. “From now on,” he said, “the review of these files will be accomplished by attorneys rather than investigators.”


In addition, the subcommittee received a statement submitted by the State Department’s Deputy Administrator for Security and Consular Affairs, John H. DeWitt, that “sound standard procedures and effective working relations have now been developed” to obtain testimony. De Witt said that the “Soviet government has made a serious effort to be cooperative and helpful” although “the Soviets do not have a full appreciation of our evidentiary requirements.”

The hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship and International Law, of which Eilberg is chairman, was informed that INS investigators have been in Israel, meeting with 45 witnesses regarding 10 cases. Efforts also have been made to obtain testimony in Rumania and France.


Earlier in the hearing, Victor L. Lowe, director of the GAO’s general government division, charged that “our progress on this assignment” of reviewing the INS investigations “has been severely hampered by problems and delays in getting access to needed records.” Despite the subcommittee’s support, he said, “we have not been given proper access to investigative files and other records. Without proper access to a basic information for our work we cannot independently develop or verify information and the Congress cannot have adequate assurance as to the completeness of our work.”

Nevertheless, Lowe told Rep. Sam Hall Jr. (D. Tex.) that before “12 months are up we’ll have a report on each one of these cases” for the subcommittee. Delays in the completion of investigations, Lowe testified, were caused by court actions and legal conflicts, among other things.

This exasperated Rep. Harold O. Sawyer (R. Mich.) who exclaimed: “I’ve seen complicated things, but not one that goes on for 24 years. There is more than legal complication in this.” Sawyer was apparently referring to the case of former Croation Interior Minister Andrija Artukovic who has been successfully avoiding deportation or extradition to Yugoslavia since 1953. He is living in California.

Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY), long an outspoken critic of official foot-dragging on ferreting out and taking action against the war criminals, questioned Castillo and INS general counsel David Crosland why “not even all the witnesses” have yet been questioned in the case of Bishop Valerian Trifa although proceedings were instituted 27 months ago. Trifa is the former Rumanian Iron Guard leader who is living in a Detroit suburb. Castillo, a President Carter appointee, said, “I don’t know why we didn’t move more vigorously” against the Nazis, when he was asked by Eilberg for a reason for the delays.

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