I was relieved to learn that Jakiw Palij was finally deported to Germany from his home in Queens, New York. Palij had served as guard at the Trawniki Concentration Camp near Lublin, Poland. My only frustration is why American immigration authorities took so long in removing Palij from American soil. Jewish groups have been protesting Palij’s presence for years.
As an immigrant to this country, as a naturalized American, I cannot emphasize enough that it is a privilege for any foreigner to be granted citizenship. That privilege should not be taken lightly, for it is a privilege that can be and under certain circumstances should be revoked. Although I am by no means familiar with the American legal system, I cannot but feel that any immigrant found guilty of a major crime (such as murder) any immigrant who is a habitual offender and any immigrant who lies as far as a criminal (read dangerous) past while applying for American citizenship should be deported. These United States serving as a country of refuge for those on foreign soil whose lives are imperiled is one thing; these United States serving as a haven for those who are menaces to free and open societies from which they fled, is entirely something else. There were any number of times that I cringed with anger as I learned of American Jews wanted in this country for crimes such as rape, murder and extortion, hightailing it to Israel, all but certain that there was no way that the Jewish homeland would turn its back on a fellow Jew. Similarly, I offered a prayer of thanks and experienced a sense of vindication when those same miscreants were turned over to American officials for extradition back to this country. The United States would do well to follow Israel’s lead.
There is a Yiddish expression which, when translated reminds us: Little children, little tsorres (problems); big children, big tsorres. The very same hold true for countries. The size of country is usually commensurate with its share of tsorres. With a population of well over 300 million, America has more than ample tsorres without having ill-behaved immigrants adding to those tsorres. As Americans, we ought to recall, the words of Emma Lazarus that are part and parcel of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Nowhere is mention made of trouble makers or criminals by American standards, nowhere is mention made of individuals who are able-bodied as well as healthy in body and mind yet are a drain on our resources. There is an on-going argument whether America should police countries run by less than savory leaders, where because of those leaders the population suffers. Shouldn’t there be a similar on-going argument whether America should police less than savory immigrants, where, because of them, segments of the population suffer?
Short of giving up for adoption, abandonment, or worse, parents have no choice when it comes to natural born children. Democracies are much the same. They too have no choice when it comes to natural born citizen. Whether it be naches or tsorres, the pleasure brought by natural born citizens are shared by the country of birth, just as the problems caused by natural born citizens are endured by the country of birth. Close to 60 years ago, a 17-year-old teen-age cousin came to spend the summer with my family. It soon became apparent, that the cousin was too much for my parents to handle. And so, my mother placed a long-distance call to her brother, telling him to come get his daughter. What my mother was really saying to her older sibling was: “Your daughter is your problem, not ours. You deal with her.” Why should it be any different with those who are here in the United States from other countries? If an immigrant to this country cannot behave or has been found guilty of misbehaving, let their parent country deal with them. They shouldn’t be our problem. Last week, immigration authorities in New York City seem to have agreed. Even though they did not extradite Jakiw Paliy to his native Poland, they extradited him to Germany where he did “misbehave.”
“He’s your problem, not ours,” said those at Immigration and Naturalization Services to the powers that be in Germany. For that they have earned my admiration and respect.