Convicted Palestinian Terrorist Granted US Citizenship Due to Lax Immigration Enforcement
A convicted Palestinian terrorist was granted U.S. citizenship by immigration authorities who apparently failed to do a proper background check on the applicant. The convicted bomber, a resident of the Chicago area, is now being charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for immigration fraud.
Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, a convicted Palestinian terrorist, had received a life-sentence in Israel for her role in bombing the British consulate in Jerusalem and for bombing a supermarket where multiple people were killed. The series of bombs were placed as part of a campaign of terror for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1969. The PFLP is a designated terrorist organization. She was released in a prisoner swap by Israeli authorities after serving ten years in prison and returned to the West Bank.
Odeh immigrated to the U.S. in 1995 and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2004, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Though U.S. authorities have expressed outrage in their public comments that she did not tell U.S. immigration authorities about her conviction and imprisonment, they did not indicate whether or not the responsible U.S. officials would also be held accountable or if the incident would prompt any changes in the U.S. immigration system.
William Hayes, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, stated: “The United States will never be a safe haven for individuals seeking to distance themselves from their pasts.” However, clearly the U.S. has served as a safe haven to this specific convicted terrorist since 1995. He added: “When individuals lie on immigration documents, the system is severely undermined and the security of our nation is put at risk.” The Special Agent did not comment on U.S. immigration authorities simply trusting the applications of people from terror-stricken nations seeking U.S. citizenship also posing a threat to our national security as well.
If convicted of the charge, Odeh will be stripped of her United States citizenship and face a maximum sentence of 10 years in U.S. prison.