Rasmea Odeh, 70, from Chicago, on Thursday was ordered by the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit to be deported for lying on her US citizenship application. Odeh, who was born in the Arab village of Lifta, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, neglected to tell immigration authorities she was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and had spent 10 years in Israeli security prison for her involvement in the 1969 PFLP bombings in Jerusalem in which two people were killed.
She spent 10 years in prison out of her life sentence, before being released in a prisoner exchange with the PFLP in 1980 (Thank you, Mr. Begin).
She then went to America, got her US immigrant visa in 1994 and became a citizen in 2004, lying both times about her criminal past. In 2014, Odeh pleaded guilty to falsifying her immigration applications and admitted that she lied about her criminal history.
US District Judge Gershwin A. Drain ruled that Odeh be deported to her home country of Jordan and will be barred for life from re-entering the US.
She told the court, in her defense: “Dreams were turned into a nightmare and Zionists killed women and children without consideration… and turned us into strangers in our own country,” adding that “the Israeli occupation of Palestine is a crime.” The judge, for his part, interrupted her three times to tell her that the case is about false statements only.
Which was unfair, really, since all she did was make false statements.
The judge also fined Odeh $1,000, to show, as he put it, that there are consequences for lying on immigration paperwork – making it a bizarre trajectory where the criminal goes downhill from murdering innocent civilians in a supermarket to lying on applications.
According to the Chicago Tribune, in Chicago, Odeh is “widely respected for her work with Arab immigrants.”
Was she preparing them for filling out their immigration applications?