Naturalized U.S. Citizen Convicted On Immigration Fraud For Failing To Disclose Terrorism Conviction
A naturalized U.S. citizen was convicted of immigration fraud today for failing to disclose that she had been convicted of participating in a terrorist bombing, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
Joining McQuade in the announcement was Marlon Miller, Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.
Convicted was Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 67, a Chicago-area resident. The five-day trial was conducted before U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain.
Odeh was found guilty of procuring her U.S. citizenship unlawfully. According to the indictment, Odeh was convicted in Israel for her role in the 1969 bombings of a supermarket and the British Consulate in Jerusalem, which were carried out on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ("PFLP"), a designated terrorist organization. Odeh and others placed multiple bombs at the British Consulate and in a supermarket. One of the bombs placed at the supermarket detonated, killing two and injuring others. A bomb placed at the Consulate caused structural damage to the facility. Odeh was sentenced by Israeli military authorities to life imprisonment, but was released after ten years as part of a prisoner exchange, and she then returned to the West Bank.
The evidence presented at trial established that in 1995, Odeh immigrated to the United States and was naturalized as a citizen in 2004. In her immigration documents filed in the United States, Odeh failed to disclose her arrest, conviction and imprisonment overseas, which were material facts for the U.S. government in determining whether to grant her citizenship.
“Today’s guilty verdict further emphasizes that the United States will never be a safe haven for individuals seeking to distance themselves from their pasts, no matter how distant that past might be,” said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge for HSI Detroit. “When individuals lie on immigration documents, the system is severely undermined and the security of our nation is put at risk.”
"An individual convicted of a terrorist bombing would not be admitted to the United States if that information was known at the time of arrival," McQuade said. "Upon discovery that someone convicted of a terrorist attack is in the United States illegally, we will seek to use our criminal justice system to remove that individual."
Odeh faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and will be stripped of her United States citizenship. A sentencing date has been set for March 10, 2015 at 11 am. Judge Drain remanded Odeh to the custody of the United States Marshals pending her sentencing.This case was investigated by special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Jebson.