October 18, 2006, - 8:36 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Johann Leprich is Exhibit A in the futility of America’s immigration laws. Not to mention our inability to guard international borders.
Leprich now lives in the Detroit suburb of Clinton Township because, yesterday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security set him free. During World War II, he was a guard at one of the most evil Nazi concentration camps, a member of the Nazi group, Death’s Head Battalion. At the very least, he should die in prison.
Leprich, who voluntarily joined the German Waffen SS, guarded Mathausen–where at least 150,000 mostly Hungarian Jews and others were murdered in cold blood–in 1943-’44. Mathausen inmates were starved, worked, tortured, and gassed to death. Others were ordered to undress and sprayed with freezing water in minus ten degree Celsius weather, until they froze to death. According to accounts, some of Mathausen’s male inmates were first raped by two gay SS officers, who then killed them with picks or by dropping them off cliffs.
According to “The Forgotten Camps,”
Mauthausen was classified as a so-called “category three camp”. This was the fiercest category, and for the prisoners it meant “Ruckkehr unerwunscht” (return not desired) and “Vernichtung durch arbeit” (extermination by work).
On May 5 1945, the camp was liberated by the US’ 11th Armored Division.
Leprich, now 81, has managed to live a life of freedom, despite lying about his Nazi past on his citizenship application. His citizenship was revoked in 1987, and ostensibly, Leprich lived in Canada, where apparently they have no problem with Nazi murderers living openly in their midst.
But, in fact, Leprich actually lived in Clinton Township, Michigan. He repeatedly snuck in and out of the U.S. at Detroit area border crossings from Canada. Incredibly, despite being on a list of deportees not eligible for re-admission to the U.S., Leprich re-entered the United States on a number of occasions after 9/11.
So much for President Bush’s beefed-up border security. If a deported, banned Nazi can repeatedly and openly traverse our borders after a major terrorist attack, who else is doing the same?
Whenever authorities–suspicious he was back in the States–checked at Leprich’s family home, they couldn’t find him. His wife and adult children helped hide Leprich in a secret room inside the stairway of the house.
Eventually, in 2003, Leprich was caught and put in jail, awaiting deportation. But no country will take him.
And that’s the problem with America’s soft immigration laws. Hardened Nazis, like Leprich, and terrorists, like Sami Al-Arian and Fawaz Abu Damrah, can’t be deported unless another country grants “travel documents” allowing them to go there and take up permanent residence. Is this any way to get rid of terrorists, murderers, hardened criminals, and other illegal aliens?
No, it isn’t. We are at the mercy of the international community regarding who we can kick out, once they’ve made it in. That includes countries who hate us and would love their criminals and terrorists to remain here and wreak havoc. While, the State Department has the power to shut down diplomatic relations with countries who won’t take their own criminal and terrorist citizens back, it rarely does so. Our immigration policy, coupled with a limp State Department, simply doesn’t have teeth.
Add to that the reason that Leprich, the Nazi guard, was released. A 2001 Supreme Court decision, INS v. St. Cyr, says that aliens held for more than six months of obtaining a court order to deport them are presumed to be held unreasonably. They can petition the court for their release, as did Leprich. Rather than lose in court, as they likely would have here, the Justice Department agreed to force ICE to let Leprich go.
Our “allies”–Romania, Hungary, and Germany–refuse to accept the man, so now this Nazi guard gets to live in freedom in America for the rest of his life.
Al-Arian and Damrah–both detained for more than 180 days for terrorist offenses and pleading guilty to immigration violations–can also petition the court. None of the Muslim countries from which they emanated–including Kuwait and the Palestinian Authority–will accept them. One has to hope that liberal federal judges won’t agree to release them into the great American abyss.
But it is possible.
Leprich’s lawyer, Joseph McGinness, built a career on freeing Nazis who lied to get citizenship in America. “They’ll have to call it quits,” he gleefully told the Detroit Free Press, announcing his Nazi client’s freedom.
“What country is going to accept an 81-year-old man who is in declining health?”
If he’s a Nazi or Islamic terrorist, America will.
Tags: 11th Armored Division, America, American abyss, Battalion, Bush, Canada, Clinton Township, Death's Head Battalion, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Detroit, Detroit Free Press, Fawaz Abu Damrah, Germany, guard, guard international borders, Hungary, Johann Leprich, Johann Leprich Should Die, Joseph McGinness, Kuwait, lawyer, Leprich's lawyer, major terrorist, Michigan, Nazi, Nazi guard, Palestinian Authority, President, Romania, Sami Al-Arian, Supreme Court, the Detroit Free Press, United States