WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal immigration judge ruled that John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian immigrant and retired auto worker, can be deported from the United States because he served as an armed guard at several Nazi camps during World War II, the Justice Department said on Monday. Chief U.S. Immigration Judge Michael Creppy ruled that Demjanjuk's actions during the war "prevented the escape of prisoners being held captive and who were left at the disposition of the Nazis," the Justice Department said in a statement.
Creppy ruled that Demjanjuk, 85, was therefore removable from the United States as a foreigner who participated in Nazi-sponsored persecution on the basis of race, religion, national origin or political opinion.
The judge has not yet decided where Demjanjuk will be sent. Demjanjuk, whose case has been in the U.S. courts for three decades, lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. His next hearing is scheduled for June 30, 2005 in Cleveland.
A federal judge previously revoked Demjanjuk's U.S. citizenship on multiple grounds, including his "willing" service in a unit "dedicated to exploiting and exterminating" Jewish civilians in Nazi-occupied Poland.
In 2002, following a trial, a federal judge in Ohio ruled that the government had proved that Demjanjuk was an armed guard at Sobibor, Majdanek and Flossenburg concentration camps.
A federal appeals court affirmed the decision and the case was then brought before the immigration judge to approve deportation.
"John Demjanjuk's role in helping to doom thousands of Jews to annihilation in Sobibor's gas chambers renders him singularly unworthy of continued residence in this country," said Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations.
"His participation in the ghastly crimes of the Holocaust renders him unfit to remain here, and the government will seek to remove him as expeditiously as possible," he said.
Demjanjuk has denied he was ever a death camp guard, saying he was in the Soviet Army but spent much of World War II as a German prisoner.
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