Josh Ruebner writes: Rasmea Odeh was brutally tortured into confessing a crime she did not commit. After 10 years of imprisonment, Odeh was exiled from her homeland, eventually immigrating to the United States from Jordan in 1994 as a legal resident and later becoming a naturalized citizen. For the past decade, she has gained the admiration and adulation of the Chicago community she selflessly serves, working as the associate director of the Arab American Action Network to defend civil liberties and promote immigrant rights. Last year, the Chicago Cultural Alliance bestowed on her its Outstanding Community Leader Award in recognition of her devoting “over 40 years of her life to the empowerment of Arab women.”
People such as Odeh, who demonstrate such a tremendous spirit of resiliency, capacity to overcome hardship and dedication to community empowerment, are often lauded by presidents during State of the Union addresses. Perhaps if Odeh was tortured, imprisoned and exiled by a regime the United States deemed hostile, then President Obama would be saluting her from the House gallery as an exemplar of humanity while members of Congress feted her with a standing ovation. But, because Odeh is Palestinian and her oppressor is Israel, she faces quite a different reception from the U.S. government: The Obama administration shamefully has filed immigration-related charges against Odeh that could result in her being stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported from this country.
Last October, Department of Homeland Security agents arrested Odeh at her home after the Department of Justice dusted off her 10-year-old naturalization application to charge her with “unlawful procurement of naturalization” for allegedly omitting mention of her time in Israeli prison. The spuriousness of this charge is evident by the fact that Odeh has been quite frank in her public retelling of the torture she faced during her time in Israeli prisons. [Continue reading…]