A naturalized U.S. citizen and former member of the Palestinian terrorist group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was charged with immigration fraud in an indictment filed Tuesday in a federal court in Detroit. Founded in 1967, the PFLP has been responsible for a number of high-profile terrorist attacks worldwide, including airplane hijackings.
Chicago-area resident Rasmieh Yousef Odeh was convicted in Israel for her role in two 1969 terrorist plots, one in a crowded supermarket and the other at the British Consulate in Jerusalem. The supermarket attack killed two people and injured several others. The consulate bombing caused property damage. Odeh was sentenced to life imprisonment in Israel but was released after 10 years in a prisoner swap which freed 76 Palestinians in exchange for one Israeli soldier held in Lebanon.
Odeh came to the United States in 1995 and was naturalized as a citizen in 2004. In her immigration documents, Odeh failed to mention her arrest, conviction, and imprisonment in Israel. Immigration forms ask several questions about an applicant's criminal background, including whether the applicant has committed "a crime involving moral turpitude" and ever was convicted of a crime carrying more than five years in prison.
"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," U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade said in a Justice Department press release. "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 will be stripped of her citizenship if convicted and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for naturalization fraud.