November 1st, 2008
12:43 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama's aunt may be illegal immigrant

Sen. Obama visited Kenya, his father's birthplace, in 2006. The Associated Press has reported that a paternal aunt of Obama's is living in the U.S. illegally.
Sen. Obama visited Kenya, his father's birthplace, in 2006. The Associated Press has reported that a paternal aunt of Obama's is living in the U.S. illegally.

(CNN) – A member of Barack Obama's Kenyan family living in the United States is facing a possible immigration issue: the Associated Press reports that an aunt he speaks about in his memoirs is living in the United States illegally.

The AP says she remain in government housing in Boston, even though an immigration judge denied her request for asylum four years ago.

Zeituni Onyango's refusal to leave the country would be an administrative violation, not a criminal matter.

CNN has not been able to independently verify her immigration status.

The Obama campaign has not yet responded to a CNN request for comment.

Obama called the woman "Aunt Zeituni" in his memoirs, where he described her as the first Kenyan relative he encountered on his visit to his father's home country.

Onyango has donated at least five times to Obama's campaign in July and September, listing her occupation as a "volunteer resident health advocate." Federal campaign finance records indicate several contributions in amounts of $5 and $25.

Updated 11:37 a.m.: Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, issued the following statement in response to the AP's reporting about Sen. Obama's aunt: "Senator Obama has no knowledge of her status but obviously believes that any and all appropriate laws be followed. "

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soundoff (1,442 Responses)
  1. Watson

    BHO did it to himself. Too many skeletons in his closets to become the prez.

    November 1, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  2. Densil McFarlane

    and this is news because?

    November 1, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. Brenda

    What is up with our country. We are made up of people coming here from all countries. We have immigrants here that can not even tell a sales clerk what they are looking for in a store. Medicines that are needed for their children they can't ask for. Witnessed it myself. Now why start something about an elderly lady that is here with a roof over her head and not suffering at the hand of anyone except the media in our country. What does they say for us?

    November 1, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. KNOWWHAT?

    Just befoe the immigration issue, there was the cry of socialism. Arnold said he left his country (Austria with a shady family history), because of socialism. I need to know what it is called when Palin gave each Alaskan citizen that $2000+? Did she not "spread the wealth" for her Alaskan citizens? Was that socialism? And yes, if his Aunt is in violation, she should be treated like the others, but guess what? Don't just start and end with Aunt Zeituni, RALLY THEM ALL UP AND GET THEM ALL OUT OF HERE. SEND THEM ALL BACK TO EACH AND EVERY CORNER OF THE GLOBE WHERE THEY CAME FROM. NOT JUST OBAMA'S AUNT, SEND THEM ALLLLLLLLL BACK!!! And I'm sure they didn't just find this out yesterday. I'm so glad God is in charge and

    November 1, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. S Callahan

    First, knowing where she comes from I would suspect she was fleeing poverty, possible persecution..or many other factors...if so...that is merits to stay in the US...of course, following our immigration rules.

    My question is...HOW does this relate to Obama? I just don't see the connection.
    We are a land of opportunity and many seek to come to the USA...i could have long lost cousins coming into the country and not even know it...........gezzzzzzzzzzz....this is so annoying ..

    I got one for ya...how about going to the street of Columbus Ohio and meet the MANY homeless..living transient, shelter to shelter each day.....ask THEM what has happen in their state under this current administration...

    November 1, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. Zac Umdenstock

    Foxnews start this one?

    November 1, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. Joshua Justin

    I love some of these right-wing comments. One talks about the Aunt giving campaign contributions and that being in violation of our constitution. Which constitution are you reading?

    Another says that Obama has "not show prove of his citizenship." With that grammer, neither have you, my friend.

    My point: A right winger's lack of knowledge of our Constituion and another's failure to even use half-way decent grammer is bigger news than Obama's Aunt. CNN should report on that.

    November 1, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  8. shay

    Trying to feed something to the public to see what sticks.

    Is Barack suppose to bail her out?

    He has to stay out of it like Governor Sarah Palin should have done in the Troopergate.

    All Barack can do is give his Aunt some advice are hire a lawyer for her.

    His Aunt knows what is at stake and should have persue it as her personal business to take care of on her own.

    Case close

    November 1, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. Rick Sutter

    "Whatever
    Report something worthwhile…. and Bush and Cheney should be in prison for defying the constitution"

    However, Obama believes that the U.S. Constitution is a "seriously flawed document" that represents a "blind spot" on the part of our founding fathers. Can't wait to see how Obama and the Magic 60 (not to mention the one or two ultra-lib supreme court members he appoints) decides that the entire constitution is just a "remarkable historical document" and nothing else. All Hail the King.

    November 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  10. H-bomb

    Oh no! This totally changes who Obama is! Shame on the media.

    November 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  11. Boston Guy

    Maybe this lady and another million people in Boston. What's new? Republicans are at an all time low and getting more nasty by the day. Leave the lady alone. She donated 5-25 dollars at a time. Oh wait, the rich didn't get it so there you go.

    November 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. zt

    screw you repubs! go find something better to do.

    November 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Watson

    What about the issue concerning the birth certificate of Barrack Hussein Obama?

    November 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Chad

    Let's also bring up Obama being his "brothers keeper" whom is also living in poverty. He just spent $4 million on a failed infomercial and he can't help his brother out of poverty. So much for being for the little guy.

    November 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. JC

    how is this news worthy ?????????????

    November 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. Andrew in Indiana

    What relevance does this have to my life and pocket-book? Man, you guys are really trying so hard to bring down the 44th President of the United States! Grow up!

    November 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. Alicia

    give me a brake.....so many people live iligally in these country .......now let's talk about one......good call cnn

    November 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  18. park more - New orleans

    He also lies about cut taxes from 250 to 200 to 150 and then to $120..... Think about it this is the start...... You will be suprise and suffer with Obama....... He has no rational and I am sure he does care about American people just looking for ambition........ If you do not act now it will be too late and you will pay the price, especially by giving your monay to the leasy people

    November 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. Independent Dave, Iowa

    This is BIG! Imagine someone wanting to come to America to escape poverty, prejudice and injustice! Don't these sub-humans know this is the land of and for Joe the Plumbers and Conservative Christians! No one else has the right to be here! Everyone else OUT!

    November 1, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. Bob (Illinois)

    I have question for CNN: Is this really that important?

    November 1, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. Charlene

    I find it more interesting that both CNN and MSNBC are running McCain's speeches in their entirety this morning. Is this the same service you charged Obama five million for a few days ago?

    November 1, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. Hard Working Mom

    A "volunteer resident health advocate?" What exactly is that? If she had money to donate to a candidate, why didn't she put it toward rent? Oh, that's right. It's our job as Americans to provide for people who are here illegally. Funny how we take money from our own citizens who work hard and give it to those who don't work and / or are here illegally. Volunteer resident health advocate- sign me up to be one of those. And pay my rent while you're at it. Food stamps would be good, too. I could use some of those. I can't wait to see Obama's beloved auntie at state dinners- that should be a hoot. It will be like Billy Carter with a Kenyan flair. It will make me proud to be an American. You'd think if she was really his long lost beloved auntie, he'd be on a plane to go see her and bring her to his home. Haven't seen that yet, though. I'll be waiting for the glorious reunion.

    November 1, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  23. Informed Voter in FL

    Seems to be a slow news day

    November 1, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  24. Debra

    I don't CARE.

    After all that has gone on in this country for the last 8 years and the damage done by the Bush administration, this doesn't even register on any scale of what needs to be addressed.

    A Republican who is voting for Obama and proud to say voted against Bush in both those elections.

    November 1, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. Irene

    Stunning !

    November 1, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
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