U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested and deported the last known Nazi collaborator living in the U.S. on Tuesday from his home in Queens, New York, potentially raising questions for those who feel ICE should be abolished.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist who is running for office in New York’s 14th Congressional District, leads the movement to abolish ICE and is running on a platform of doing so because she wants to “see to it that our undocumented neighbors are treated with the dignity and respect owed to all people, regardless of citizenship status.”
Ocasio-Cortez has garnered support from several others in her party to abolish or severely re-examine the organization, but after ICE’s inarguably positive action of removing a war criminal from U.S. soil, Ocasio-Cortez’s movement could open itself up to criticism.
Jakiw Palij, a 95-year-old former Nazi SS labor camp guard in German-occupied Poland, was a resident of Queens, which is part of the district that Ocasio-Cortez is hoping to represent.
The Gestapo was the secret Nazi police that used torture on its prisoners, and imposed labor, starvation and other atrocities on the Jews during the Holocaust.
The Republican National Committee pointed out the irony of Ocasio-Cortez’s call to abolish ICE in an email from its rapid response director, Michael Ahrens.
“Now that ICE has literally removed a Nazi from her backyard, where does Ocasio-Cortez stand?” Ahrens asked.
Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley, who currently serves New York’s 14th district, used a Twitter post Tuesday to applaud ICE’s deportation of the former Nazi.
This is a long-overdue step toward justice and peace for victims of the Holocaust. I’m proud to have worked with the State Dept. to ensure that this former Nazi guard does not continue to live in Queens—a community that stands proud in its love for all. https://t.co/wKCEPayDj0
— Joe Crowley (@JoeCrowleyNY) August 21, 2018
Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to request for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation, but she tweeted Tuesday that her movement is essentially being misrepresented, and it does not call for an end to deportations.
#AbolishICE means not having an agency that incarcerates children and sexually assaults women with impunity.
It does not mean abolish deportation.
Also, I have no problem saying white supremacy has no place in this country.
It’s the GOP that struggles to say that. https://t.co/7gbXezIhu5
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 21, 2018
In a statement from the White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, the administration stated Palij was ordered for deportation in 2004, but past administrations failed to remove him.
“To protect the promise of freedom for Holocaust survivors and their families, President Trump prioritized the removal of Palij,” Sanders said in the statement. “Through extensive negotiations, President Trump and his team secured Palij’s deportation to Germany and advanced the United States’ collaborative efforts with a key European ally.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at a time when tensions are high between her country and the U.S., accepted Palij’s deportation and transfer back to Germany.
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