The question of open-borders takes on a serious note as a Palestinian man who had been granted U.S. citizenship was discovered to have served time in an Israeli prison for his part in an attempted bus bombing. It is even more disturbing to realize that this is not the first time a high-profile background in Palestinian terrorism has been overlooked by immigration authorities and allowed to remain in the country for years. The convicted terrorist is currently free on bail.
Vallmoe Shqaire was recruited by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), listed as a terrorist organization at the time by the U.S. State Department. He became a violent operative in its “Shabeba” cell, according to confessions obtained by Israeli military officials. In 1988, Shquaire and an accomplice built a pipe bomb and placed it on the route of a bus. Shquaire served as a lookout and his accomplice detonated the bomb. No one was injured in the incident. He was convicted in an Israeli court and sentenced to ten years. As a result of agreements included in the 1993 Oslo Accords, he eventually served only four years for his crime.
In 1999, Shquaire arrived in the U.S on a visitor’s visa at which time he reportedly paid a citizen $500 to marry him. This marriage ended in divorce in 2002 leading Shquaire to marry again. He applied for and received status as a legal permanent resident. Throughout the process, he claimed not to belong to any terrorist group or to have been convicted in any country. He became a citizen of the U.S. in 2008.
In 2010, he came to the attention of terrorism investigators as a result of repeated money transfers to Ramallah but was never charged with a crime. In 2011, he was convicted for his involvement in a credit card fraud scheme and given a suspended sentence of five years in state prison. He served four months in county jail and was placed on probation for five years.
After years of investigation by immigration and terrorism authorities, he was arrested in October 2018 and charged with unlawful procurement of US citizenship. In January he entered into a plea agreement subjecting him to the possibility of prison time and agreeing to the loss of his citizenship and removal from the country. On Friday, he was sentenced to nine months in federal prison. Immigration officials have already begun administrative proceedings to strip Shqaire of his citizenship. As part of his plea agreement with the government, Shqaire will be deported to Jordan following his release from prison. Shquaire is currently free on bail and has until Sunday to turn himself over to authorities.
The case is nearly identical to that of Rasmea Odeh. In 1970, Odeh was sentenced by an Israeli court to life imprisonment for her part in two bombings in Jerusalem, one of which killed two Israelis. She was also convicted of membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which the United States lists as a terror organization. She served ten years of the sentence until she gained her freedom in a prisoner exchange. Upon her release, she testified before the United Nations about Israeli human rights abuse.
In 1995, she came to the US and was granted citizenship in 2004. In 201, her case was brought to the attention of US officials for review. She was convicted of immigration fraud in 2014 for claiming on her application that she had never committed a crime. Odeh told the court that her confession to Israeli police had been extracted under duress. In 2017, Odeh was deported to Jordan without serving any jail time.
Odeh’s case became a cause celebre of many left-wing organizations who claimed she was innocent. She was a speaker at the 2017 Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) 2017 National Member Meeting along with Linda Sarsour. Odeh also became a part of the international women’s movement of which Sarsour is a leader.