This week, the U.S. Senate unanimously and without changes passed a bill that will prevent Nazi war criminals from collecting Social Security benefits. It passed quickly through both the House and the Senate just weeks after the Associated Press uncovered the practice, which was occurring, according to Newsweek, due to a loophole. Nazi war criminals have been receiving Social Security payments after being removed from the country.
“Usually the wheels of the Senate move about as fast as an old rusted locomotive, but this time it moved like a modern diesel,” Allan Lichtman, a professor at American University explained of the legislation that was passed on to President Obama on Thursday.
“This was something Democrats and Republicans could agree on at a time when they could agree on virtually nothing else,” the congressional expert added.
Representative Carolyn Maloney had introduced a similar bill in November, which was called the Nazi Social Security Benefits Termination Act of 2014. Maloney said that either bill would have been “sufficient,” but stressed that it was imperative that the United States no longer allow Social Security benefits to fall into the hands of “those guilty of the worst atrocities in modern history.”
According to the media investigation, the final deportation of some Nazi war criminals never happened because the criminals would voluntarily leave the country or would leave as part of a deal with the United States Justice Department. In doing one of these things, the Nazi war criminals would manage to keep receiving payments from Social Security because the deportation paperwork would never be finalized.
Similar legislation had been brought up before, but for various reasons, explained in depth by Newsweek, previous attempts to strip Nazi war criminals of Social Security benefits failed. Previously, World Jewish Congress (WJC) supported the swift removal of Nazis from the United States, which was the loophole that allowed the Nazis to continue getting payments. WJC assumed that these criminals would simply end up facing prosecution in Europe. WJC has since reversed it’s decision because many of the war criminals actually did not end up standing trial for their war crimes. WJC still stands by the earlier support of the Justice Department’s actions though, saying that Nazis leaving the country quickly was ultimately the most pressing goal sought by Holocaust survivors because they did not want to have to live among the Nazis and collaborators.
“Coming ahead of the 70th anniversaries of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, the adoption of this bill by Congress sends an important signal: Nazi criminals who illegally obtained U.S. citizenship after World War II by lying about their past and who escaped prosecution should not benefit from American taxpayers’ support,” Robert Singer, CEO of the WJC, said according to the Huffington Post.
Now that the war criminals are out of the country, and with the support of the WJC, the “No Social Security For Nazis Act” was able to pass quickly and without objection, and simply waits for the approval of the president.
[Photo of concentration camp via Pixabay]