Thirty-four years ago, the Justice Department started hunting suspected Nazi war criminals living in the US. The department found 137 of them, but less than half actually left the country, whether voluntarily or via deportation. Another 20 died while their cases were still pending, while at least 20 others never saw their cases pursued for various reasons (often poor health). And in 10 cases uncovered by an AP investigation, suspects were ordered deported only to end up in legal limbo—still eligible for Social Security and other public benefits—because no other country would allow the men in. Four are still living in the US, having exhausted their appeals, and the other six lived in the US until they died.
"I don't think it's any lack of effort by the American government," says the chief Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. But, in at least one case, a suspect remained eligible for public benefits even after his appeals had been exhausted. And, in dozens of other cases, suspects were allowed to keep benefits as they fought deportation. But the US can't just put these people on trial—rather than trying (unsuccessfully) to deport them—because the alleged crimes didn't take place on American soil, the AP explains. That these men "have been able to live out their lives enjoying the freedoms of this country ... is an affront to the memory of those who perished," says one Holocaust expert. Click for more, including details of the suspects. (Read more war crimes stories.)