199 F.3d 393 (7th Cir. 1999), 98-3407, Tittjung v. Reno, United States Att'y Gen.

Docket Nº:98-3407
Citation:199 F.3d 393
Party Name:Anton Tittjung,Petitioner, v. Janet Reno, U.S. Attorney General, and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Respondents.
Case Date:December 02, 1999
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 393

199 F.3d 393 (7th Cir. 1999)

Anton Tittjung,Petitioner,

v.

Janet Reno, U.S. Attorney General, and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service,

Respondents.

No. 98-3407

In the United States Court of Appeals, For the Seventh Circuit

December 2, 1999

Argued November 5, 1999

Rehearing Denied Feb.9, 2000

On Petition for Review From the Board of Immigration Appeals No. A08 315 083

Page 394

Before Bauer, Flaum, and Easterbrook, Circuit Judges.

Flaum, Circuit Judge.

The Immigration Court ordered that Anton Tittjung be deported to Croatia, pursuant to the Holtzman Amendment, 8 U.S.C. sec. 1227(a)(4)(D) (formerly 8 U.S.C. sec. 1251(a)(4)(D)), which requires the deportation of aliens who assisted or otherwise

Page 395

participated in the persecution of persons because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion under the direction of, or in association with, the Nazi government of Germany. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed the deportation order and dismissed Tittjung's appeal. Tittjung filed a motion for reconsideration, which the BIA denied. Tittjung now petitions this Court to review the BIA's denial of his motion for reconsideration. For the reasons stated below, we affirm the decision of the BIA.

Background

Tittjung was born in Erdud, Yugoslavia (now part of the Republic of Croatia) on November 17, 1924.1 He joined the Waffen SS, an organization of the Nazi government of Germany, in October 1942 and remained in the Waffen SS until the conclusion of World War II in 1945. Tittjung was a member of the SS Totenkopf-Sturmbann (Death's Head Battalion), a collection of units with primary responsibility for guarding concentration camps and implementing the Nazi policy of persecuting Jews and other targeted groups. While a member of the SS Death's Head Battalion, Tittjung served as an armed guard at the Mauthausen concentration camp and its subcamp at Gross Raming, in Nazi-occupied Austria.

Mauthausen and its subcamp Gross Raming were places of persecution. Jews and others were imprisoned there because of their race, religion, national origin, or political opinion. During the period of Tittjung's service, thousands of prisoners died in Mauthausen and Gross Raming as the result of shooting, gassing, forced labor, and other forms of killing.

As a member of the SS Death's Head Battalion at Mauthausen, Tittjung's duties included ensuring that prisoners performed forced labor and did not escape, as well as guarding prisoners on forced marches. Guards were armed and were under orders to shoot any prisoners who tried to escape. While performing their duties, members of the SS Death's Head Battalion ordered, incited, assisted, and generally participated in the persecution of prisoners because of their race, religion, or national origin.

In 1952, Tittjung applied for and obtained a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 ("DPA"). At no point during the application process did Tittjung disclose his association with the SS Death's Head Battalion or his participation in Nazi persecution as a concentration camp guard. In 1973, Tittjung applied for naturalization, again concealing his service as an armed concentration camp guard. Tittjung was granted U.S. citizenship on January 9, 1974.

In September 1989, the Government brought an action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, seeking to revoke Tittjung's citizenship. The complaint alleged that Tittjung was ineligible for U.S. citizenship because of his SS Death's Head Battalion guard service at Mauthausen and Gross Raming, and because he misrepresented and concealed his wartime activities to immigration and naturalization officials, thereby procuring his citizenship illegally.

Following a trial on the merits, the district court found that the Government proved by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence that Tittjung had served as an armed guard at Mauthausen and Gross Raming. The district court held that as a concentration camp guard, Tittjung assisted in the persecution of persons because of their race, religion, or national origin, and was therefore ineligible for a visa under the DPA when he entered the United States. Because Tittjung had not legally entered the United States, his citizenship

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was unlawfully procured and the district court revoked it. United States v. Tittjung, 753 F.Supp. 251, 256-57 (E.D. Wis. 1990). Because Tittjung's guard service required his denaturalization as a matter of law, the district court did not address the allegation that Tittjung misrepresented his service to visa officials and thereby entered the United States by means of fraud. Id. at 257. This Court affirmed the district court's denaturalization order in an opinion dated November 14, 1991, 948 F.2d 1292 (7th Cir. 1991), and the Supreme Court thereafter denied certiorari, 505 U.S. 1222 (1992).

On May 11, 1992, the Government commenced deportation proceedings before the Immigration Court against Tittjung, raising three bases for deportation: (1) that, as a guard at the Mauthausen concentration camp, Tittjung assisted or otherwise participated in the persecution of persons because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion under the direction of, or in association with, the Nazi government of Germany, in violation of the Holtzman Amendment, 8 U.S.C. sec. 1251(a)(4)(D) (now codified as 8 U.S.C. sec. 1227(a)(4)(D)); (2) that, insofar as he was ineligible for a visa under the DPA, he was excludable at the time of his entry into the United States, 8 U.S.C. sec. 1251(a)(1)(A) (now codified as 8 U.S.C. sec. 1227(a) (1)(A)); and (3) that he was present in the United States unlawfully, in violation of 8 U.S.C. sec. 1251(a)(1)(B) (now codified as 8 U.S.C. sec. 1227(a)(1)(B)).

The Government moved for summary judgment and an order of deportation, based upon the application of the doctrine of collateral estoppel to facts--in particular, Tittjung's wartime service as an armed concentration camp guard--established in the denaturalization trial. The Government submitted portions of the denaturalization trial record, which included documentary evidence and expert testimony. On March 24, 1994, the Immigration Court granted the Government's motion and ordered that Tittjung be deported pursuant to the Holtzman Amendment. Having reached this conclusion, the Immigration Court did not resolve whether Tittjung was deportable under any misrepresentation theory. Tittjung declined to designate a country of deportation, so the Immigration Court designated Croatia, the country having present jurisdiction over Tittjung's place of birth. The Immigration Court also held that under the Holtzman Amendment, Tittjung was statutorily ineligible for relief from deportation.

Tittjung appealed...

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