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Linnas v. Immigration and Naturalization Service

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
790 F.2d 1024 (2d Cir. 1986)


Karl Linnas was born in Estonia in 1919 and entered the United States in 1951 under the auspices of the Displaced Persons Act. He claimed he had been a university student during the years 1940–1943, and that he had never advocated or assisted in any sort of persecution. He gained citizenship in 1960. A federal district court later ordered Linnas denaturalized after learning that he had procured naturalization by concealment and misrepresentation. Linnas had actually been the Chief of the Nazi concentration camp in Tartu, Estonia and committed various atrocities. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) (defendant) then began deportation proceedings under § 242 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Linnas got to choose where he would be deported to and he chose an office building in New York that was housing representatives of the independent Republic of Estonia, because Estonia had been incorporated into the Soviet Union at that time. Linnas had been tried by the Soviet Union in absentia and sentenced to death. Although the immigration judge attempted to send Linnas to Estonia, the Soviet Union was the only country that would accept him. Linnas appealed, and the Board of Immigration Appeals remanded the case to the immigration judge to consider the effect of the United States’ non-recognition of the Soviet annexation of Estonia, and to set forth a statutory basis for the designation of a country of deportation.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Altimari, J.)

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