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IMMIGRATION JUDGE ORDERS DEPORTATION OF DETROIT-AREA

IMMIGRATION JUDGE ORDERS DEPORTATION OF DETROIT-AREA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice and the Department of

Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that an immigration judge in Detroit,

Michigan, has ordered the deportation of Johann Leprich, 77, a Clinton

Township, Michigan man who served as an armed guard at a Nazi concentration

camp during World War II. Leprich was arrested on immigration-related charges

this past July at his former home in Clinton Township, Michigan, after federal

agents found him hiding in a secret compartment beneath the basement

staircase.

Christopher A. Wray, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice

Departments Criminal Division, stated, Federal agents relentlessly pursued

Leprich after he disappeared 16 years ago, and the courts decision validates

the enormous effort that was made by agents of the FBI, DHS and other agencies

to track him down.

Leprich, who was born in Romania, immigrated to the United States from Germany

in 1952 and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1958. In 1987, his U.S.

citizenship was revoked by the United States District Court in Detroit after a

federal judge found that Leprich had assisted in Nazi persecution while

serving as an armed SS Deaths Head guard at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp

in Nazi-annexed Austria from late 1943 until at least April 1944. The court

emphasized that inmates at Mauthausen were starved, beaten, tortured, and

killed by a variety of methods, including gassing,

hanging, strangling, electrocution, drowning, burning, starving, and shooting.

The federal court also found that Leprich lied about his wartime activities

when he applied for a U.S. immigration visa.

At a hearing in immigration court earlier this month, Leprich testified that

he left the United States in 1987 to avoid being deported, and that he lived

in Canada for sixteen years until he returned to the United States in April

2003. He admitted that he knew he was no longer permitted to live in the

United States, and that he was taking a chance when he returned to this

country. The government commenced deportation proceedings against Leprich

after he was arrested on July 1, 2003, following an investigation conducted by

the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Attorneys Office

in Detroit, and the Justice Departments Office of Special Investigations

(OSI).

Leprich claimed that the 1987 denaturalization decision was not final and that

he continues to be a U.S. citizen. In his decision, Assistant Chief

Immigration Judge Larry Dean rejected that claim, noting, It would be

difficult to imagine a more final order regarding the revocation of Mr.

Leprichs citizenship. The judge concluded that Leprich entered this country

illegally and ordered that he be removed to Romania, Germany, or Hungary.

The government proved sixteen years ago that Leprich and his fellow guards at

the infamous Mauthausen Concentration Camp took part in the persecution of the

many thousands of innocent civilians interned there, said OSI Director Eli M.

Rosenbaum. Our goal now is to remove Leprich from this country as quickly as

possible, and todays decision is an important step toward that goal.

The proceedings to remove Leprich are a result of OSIs ongoing efforts to

identify, investigate, and take legal action against former participants in

Nazi persecution who reside in the United States. Seventy-three individuals

who assisted in Nazi persecution have been stripped of U.S. citizenship, and

fifty-nine such persons have been removed from the United States since OSI

began operations in 1979. More than 160 individuals who sought to enter the

United States in recent years have been blocked from doing so as a result of

OSIs Watch List program.