U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently adopted new policies allowing for the detainment of pregnant women. But a Nazi living in exile is still a free man.

Earlier this week, ICE told Congress that it was rescinding an earlier policy automatically releasing pregnant immigrants from detention centers. However, ICE has been detaining pregnant women in its immigrant detention facilities since December. A leading ICE official told CNN that more than 500 pregnant women have been detained since December, and that 35 pregnant women were currently in detention facilities as of March 20.

ICE’s immigrant detention centers have become known for subjecting immigrants to inhumane conditions. A December 2017 report issued by the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security found multiple examples of detainees’ basic rights being violated at five separate facilities. At two different facilities, the inspector general’s report found instances of detainees being provided insufficient and/or delayed medical care:

Although the facilities provided health care services, as required by [Performance-Based National Detention Standards], some detainees at the Santa Ana City Jail and Stewart Detention Center reported long waits for the provision of medical care, including instances of detainees with painful conditions, such as infected teeth and a knee injury, waiting days for medical intervention.

The harsh treatment of pregnant immigrants is in stark contrast to the hands-off attitude ICE has toward Jakiw Palij. Palij, 94, is the last living Nazi war criminal living in the United States, living on a quiet street in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, New York. According to the Daily Beast, Palij was a guard at the Trawniki SS camp, which simultaneously served as both a training ground for Nazi officers involved in Operation “Reinhard” — the German plan to exterminate roughly two million Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland — and a forced-labor camp for Jewish detainees.

Palij was initially ordered to be deported to Ukraine in 2004, after immigration authorities discovered he had lied about his past in order to gain entry to the United States.

“The immigration judge’s decision reaffirms the important principle that neither the passage of time nor the expanse of an ocean will prevent the United States from securing a measure of justice on behalf of the victims of the Nazi regime,” said then-Assistant Attorney General Christopher Wray (now serving as FBI director).

“During a single nightmarish day in November 1943, all of the more than 6,000 prisoners of the Nazi camp that Jakiw Palij had guarded were systematically butchered,” said said Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, in a public statement issued after the decision. “By helping to prevent the escape of these prisoners, Palij played an indispensable role in ensuring that they met their tragic fate at the hands of the Nazis.”

However, Rosenbaum told the Beast that neither Ukraine nor Germany nor Poland would accept him, meaning Palij is still a free man living on the lam in the United States despite his past. Because the War Crimes Act of 1996 only allows for the prosecution of crimes committed on U.S. soil by U.S. citizens, law enforcement is limited to prosecuting Palij for lying on his immigration forms.

Palij hung up when Grit Post called his home number.


Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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