Convicted Terrorist Stripped of Citizenship, Ordered Deported

ICE, August 18, 2017

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A former naturalized U.S. citizen, who was convicted in Israel for participating in a terrorist bombing, was ordered deported Thursday, following an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 70, lost her United States citizenship, and will be deported from the United States for having obtained her United States citizenship unlawfully, Daniel L. Lemisch, acting United States Attorney announced. Joining Lemisch in the announcement was Steve Francis, HSI Detroit special agent in charge.

“Today’s court action clears the way for this defendant’s removal from the United States and should serve as an unequivocal message that the U.S. will never be a haven for those seeking to distance themselves from their past atrocities,” said Steve Francis, HSI Detroit special agent in charge.

Odeh, a Chicago-area resident, was sentenced by United States District Judge Gershwin A. Drain. During the sentencing hearing, Judge Drain indicated that he would sign an order, today, revoking Odeh’s United States citizenship. As a result of that order, Odeh will no longer have legal status in the United States, will be deported to her nation of citizenship, Jordan, and is barred for life from reentering the United States. Judge Drain said Odeh intentionally falsified her U.S. citizenship documents and this sentence should be a deterrent to others thinking of lying to gain admission into the United States and citizenship.

Before immigrating to the United States, Odeh had been convicted overseas for participation in two terrorist bombings and for having been a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which has been designated a Terrorist Organization by the United States.

Acting U.S. Attorney Lemisch stated, “In 1969, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine conducted two bombings in Jerusalem, Israel. One was at a Supersol supermarket, in which two individuals were killed and many more wounded. The second bombing was at the British Consulate. Defendant Odeh was arrested and charged with participation in the bombings, and in 1970 was convicted. She was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released in 1979 after ten years’ imprisonment, as part of a prisoner exchange. In numerous television and video interviews throughout the years, other admitted participants in the bombings named Odeh as the person who chose the supermarket as a target, scouted the location and placed the bomb.”

Odeh obtained a United States immigrant visa in 1994 and has lived in the United States for the last 22 years. In 2004, she obtained United States citizenship. She unlawfully failed to disclose her arrest and convictions regarding the bombings in both her application for her visa and her separate application for United States citizenship.

According to the plea agreement signed by Odeh and accepted by the court, Odeh admitted that in those applications, she lied about her criminal history by falsely denying that she ever had been arrested, charged with a crime, convicted, or imprisoned. In her plea, Odeh also admitted that “At the time she made the false statements, Defendant knew the statements were false, and that she made the false statements intentionally and not as a result of any mistake, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or any other psychological issue or condition, as she had previously claimed in court proceedings, or for any innocent reason. Odeh also admitted that at the time she made the false statements, she knew that it was unlawful for her to provide false information to the United States government in connection with her application for Immigrant Visa and her application for naturalization. Had Odeh revealed the truth about her criminal history, as she was required to by law, she never would have been granted an immigrant visa, admitted to the United States, allowed to live here for the last 22 years, or granted United States Citizenship.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Lemisch commended HSI, and particularly Special Agent Stephen A. Webber, for the outstanding investigation which led to Odeh’s conviction. The prosecution was conducted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Tukel and Michael Martin.

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