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April 25, 2017Detroit, MI, United StatesNational Security, Document and Benefit Fraud

Former naturalized US citizen admits to immigration fraud; ordered deported for failing to disclose terrorism conviction

DETROIT — A former naturalized U.S. citizen, who was convicted in Israel for participating in a terrorist bombing, pleaded guilty Tuesday to immigration fraud charges. The sentencing follows an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and now paves the way for her removal from the United States.

The HSI investigation revealed Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 69, 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.

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.

During the plea hearing, Odeh admitted in open court that she lied about her criminal history by falsely denying that she ever had been arrested, charged with a crime, convicted or imprisoned. Odeh admitted today that she had omitted her Israeli arrest, charge, conviction and imprisonment from her United States naturalization application even though she knew she was required to disclose them.

Odeh also admitted in court that at the time she made the false statements, she 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 an 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.

“The United States will never be a safe haven for individuals seeking to distance themselves from their pasts,” said Steve Francis, acting 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.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel 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.”