The Strange Case of John Demjanjuk Perplexes Houston Area Immigration Lawyer

The impending deportation of accused Nazi death camp guard, Demjanjuk, is a long time in coming. But why did it take so long? Houston immigration lawyer Annie Banerjee has some relevant comments about why the 89-year-old Cleveland suburbanite is now being deported.

The process of deporting and stripping accused Nazi concentration camp guard, John Demjanjuk, began in 1974. In that year, the U.S. conflict in Vietnam was not yet over; Jimmy Carter was not yet president; the U.S.S.R. was still the U.S.S.R.; and Demjanjuk was from the Ukraine, which was not yet an independent country. For thirty-five years, this man personified evil to so many, (if the crimes attributed to him are true) remained in his comfortable home in suburban Cleveland with his family. Finally, in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Demjanjuk’s deportation appeal, which might as well have been the death knell for his own death, being a peaceful one in what had become his familiar Ohio. Suddenly, the U.S. Justice system has provided an imprimatur to his deportation.

“My question was, and still is, why now?” asks Houston-area immigration lawyer Annie Banerjee.

It grew more perplexing in 2008. He didn’t leave last year. Ukraine didn’t want him back. In fact, no country wanted him. The 89-year-old appeared ready and able to resume his hum-drum life as an “immovable alien.” But Germany changed its mind because of a Munich prosecutor. Although he can’t be extradited there, if Germany issues “travel documents” to the U.S. indicating they will accept him as a deportee …

“In my work, I witness deportations on a hum-drum basis. Many have urgent reasons to stay in the U.S., risking torture or death if they are sent back to a hostile ‘homeland.’ Why don’t these people get to stay here as John Demjanjuk did for so long?” asks Annie Banerjee. She sagely concludes, “I guess none of them are considered immovable aliens.”

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