War on Terrorism

Friday, March 13, 2015

Naturalized U.S. Citizen Sentenced on Immigration Fraud for Failing to Disclose Terrorism Conviction



Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan and Special Agent in Charge Marlon Miller of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Detroit Field Office announced that a naturalized U.S. citizen was sentenced today to serve 18 months in prison for her Nov. 10, 2014, conviction on immigration fraud for failing to disclose that she had been convicted of participating in a terrorist bombing.

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 67, a Chicago-area resident, was found guilty by a jury of procuring her U.S. citizenship unlawfully on Nov. 10, 2014, after a five-day trial.  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 10 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.

“The United States government is entitled to accurate information about people who are asking permission to enter and stay in the country,” said U.S. Attorney McQuade.  “A prior conviction for committing a terrorist bombing is a very significant fact, and failure to disclose this information is a serious fraud against the United States.”

“Today's sentencing and deportation order against the defendant underscores the severe penalties that await those who attempt to defraud the immigration system by hiding derogatory information from their past,” said Special Agent in Charge Miller.  “When individuals are less than truthful on their immigration documents, the system is severely undermined and the security of our nation is put at risk.  I applaud the HSI special agents and federal prosecutors who worked tirelessly to resolve this lengthy and complex investigation.”

As part of her sentence, the Honorable U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain revoked Odeh’s U.S. citizenship and ordered her removed and deported to Jordan.  Judge Drain stayed the execution of these orders pending her appeal of the conviction.  Judge Drain also granted Odeh’s request to remain on bond pending her appeal.

This case was investigated by special agents of ICE-HSI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Jebson of the Eastern District of Michigan, and Trial Attorney Elisabeth Poteat of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

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