US officials are looking to deport as many as 150 Bosnian immigrants, who are believed to have been involved in war crimes committed in the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995, according to the New York Times.
More than 120,000 Bosnians applied for US visas while the war was raging in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a result of long-festering ethnic tensions and the breakup of Yugoslavia. But many of those who immigrated to the US from Bosnia did so without an in-depth background check.
Of the 120,000 Bosnians who immigrated during and immediately after the war, about 300 are suspected to have concealed war crimes committed when they applied for US visas. Around half of those are thought to have played a role in the Srebrenica massacre, in which about 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed.
The Bosnian War saw fighting between Serbs, Croats and Muslims, with each side trying to eliminate the others – including civilians – in what is commonly known as ethnic cleansing. The Srebrenica massacre was the worst of those efforts.
More than 100,000 people died in the war and about 2 million were forced to relocate.
The Times reported that more than 600 Bosnians could eventually be found to have committed war crimes and be expelled from the US. Already, 64 Balkan immigrants have been extradited from the US.
“The more we dig, the more documents we find,” Michael McQueen, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement historian who has led many of the investigations, told the Times.
“The idea that the people who did all this damage in Bosnia should have a free pass and a new shot at life is just obscene to me.”
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