TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ The Department of Justice asked a federal immigration judge Wednesday to deport a Florida resident accused of helping persecute Jews in Nazi-occupied Lithuania during World War II.

Documents filed by the department's Office of Special Investigations said Algimantas Dailide, 80, arrested Jews as they tried to escape from a ghetto and turned them over to the Nazis to be shot.

``By arresting Jews whose only offense was escaping from certain death, and turning them over to disposition by his Nazi superiors, Dailide played a key role in the mistreatment and murder of innocent Jewish civilians,'' OSI director Eli M. Rosenbaum said. ``He is not entitled to the privilege of continued U.S. residence.''

The U.S. District Court in Cleveland revoked Dailide's U.S. citizenship in 1997 after determining that he was involved in the arrests. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the decision.

Dailide has denied the allegations, saying he worked for a police unit that searched for communists suspected of trying to overthrow the government during the Nazi occupation of Lithuania.

Dailide, who lives in Gulfport, has an unlisted number and could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The department said Dailide was a member of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police, called Saugumas, and helped arrest men, women and children.

More than 50,000 Jews murdered during the war were killed in the woods outside Vilnius, where Dailide allegedly made the arrests. He was accused of volunteering in Saugumas from 1941 until 1944.

The department said Dailide entered the United States in 1950 after lying to immigration officials in Germany that he had been a forester during the war.

Since the OSI began in 1979 to target people suspected of backing the Nazis, it has had 64 people stripped of U.S. citizenship and 54 people removed from the country.