The curious case of Ivan Vaclavik

Ivan Vaclavik arrived in the United States on a temporary visa from Czechoslovakia in 1974 and never left. In the meantime, he has been charged with over 100 crimes in the state of Massachusetts but has yet to be deported:

US immigration officials reject Vaclavik’s claim that he can’t be deported, but the Czech Republic that replaced Czechoslovakia in 1993 certainly has not appeared eager to have him back. Czech officials say they’re still verifying whether he is really a citizen, though Immigration and Customs Enforcement has contacted them repeatedly about deporting him over the past 12 years.

But rather than clash openly with the Czechs over Vaclavik, US immigration officials did what they have done with more than 8,500 other convicted criminals here illegally since 2008 — they let him go. Each time Vaclavik sued to get out of detention, immigration officials let him go before a judge could even rule on his claim that he cannot be deported because his homeland no longer exists.