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. Obama 2008

    Nice try RNC...

    November 1, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. byoung

    why is is that she may be iin the country illegally when it is documented she was here illegal 5 years ago and told to leave.

    November 1, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. Middle-of-the-road-lady

    Well,well--He surely isn't spreading any of his wealth in her direction, IS HE? Things that make ya go,Hummmm

    Believe you also have to swear to uphold the constitution of the USA as it's president!!!

    November 1, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. SNL

    This is a lady who is making sure that she stays in view of the government and is not hiding.

    Like many immigrants who are trying hard to do things the right way for citizenship, she is going through the proper channels over and over again in hopes to be a part of the American dream. Sometimes the road to citizenship takes time.

    Obviously, this is another American story that is actually amazing because this woman probably never dreamed in all the world that HER nephew could be president of the United States. She must be so so proud.

    Do not try to demonize this woman because she wants a better life for herself. She is not corrupt. She is poor and wants to survive.

    November 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. 15

    Wanna bet shes registered to vote (most likely through Acorn)?

    November 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. True American

    Lets see someone on here was complaining that Mrs. McCain was stealing drugs ect. hmmmmmm. It was stated in the media that Obama at one time used Cocaine and other drugs, now his aunt is here illegally what else is there going to be found out and after it's too late?

    November 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. melissa

    CNN
    THIS
    IS
    NOT
    NEWS!

    November 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. Get Real

    And? Who cares? Not me. What is wrong with you people. I am looking at about 11 folks now that may not be legal. You guys really need to get more stories or better reporters. Give me the job I'm sure I can come up with stories that effect the PEOPLE!!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. Scary

    What scares me is the posts (the majority), that don't care about the law. We look the other way simply because this is a relative of a presidential candidate whom we admire? What other situations are we willing to disregard the law for? This country has a lot more than the economy and terrorist attacks to worry about. Our society has turned into one that is morally bankrupt. So what if our leaders are liars. So what if they cover things up. Who cares? We just pick the lesser of two evils. Newsflash people… Evil is evil. This is a historical moment. The world is seeing the beginning of the end of the last world super power. It doesn’t matter who the next president is. Look at the past history of all the fallen world powers. What was the common theme? A divided people that was morally bankrupt.

    November 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  10. Shannon

    well, he does want to let all illegals stay here, I'm sure he expects us all to pay for there health care,education and living expenses too. It's part of his share the wealth plan!

    November 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. Pat

    While in itself this is irrelevant - when it comes to Obama, it points again to his narcissism (A pattern of traits and behaviors which signify infatuation and obsession with one's self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition).

    While Obama hypes the emotionality of discovering his "roots" in his books - and while he cultivates shady relationships to advance his political career - when these no longer serve his purpose - they go under the bus!

    This man is VERY scary!

    November 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  12. cesar

    Wait a minute.
    If Obama's aunt is not Mexican. Let her stay illegally in the USA.
    Just for one more week cause Obama can move her to the white house if he wins the election.
    Matter of fact, he is move all his relatives to the white house and the house next door.
    Camp David lookout!!!!
    Seriously, I am sure Obama's campaign committe knew since they investigate everything that could bring bad publicity to the candidate.
    Obama did not come clean to the election.

    November 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. meme

    Wow, I see comments like why haven't we investigated Obama's natural citizenship. Give me a break, if there were any illegal business there, all of Stepford land would have crack the case wide open. Meaning these programmed republicans. What we should be wondering is why is the legal age 67 to stop working in this country but we can have a President 5 years older than that. I'm confused why John McCane LOL.. is in the race...

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Alex

    Yippie. Not exactly an October surprise.

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. IMan

    Give me a break!!! So what...is the old lady bothering anybody? Besides its pretty obvious she fled to the US to escape the violence in Kenya. LEAVE HER ALONE!!!!

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  16. Bra Rick

    Running out of relevant headlines? Here are some suggestions.

    1) How about Governor Palin babbling about her FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS BEING THREATENED BY CRITICISM FROM THE PRESS?

    Words from a potential President of the United States............

    2) RON REAGAN OFFICIALLY ENDORSES OBAMA...

    Food for thought EISENHOWER, GOLDWATER AND NOW A REAGAN, What's with these kids? Is there a pattern here?

    Maybe just plain brilliance being irresistable..

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. Noellim1963

    If she has not stole from anyone, hurt or killed anyone, she must be a normal average human being pursuing the american dream. It may not be the legal way the government wants but she may have a limited choice. The government can do what it has to do on a case like hers...but they might as well do the same to the rest of the 7 to 10 millions here illegally.

    It does not affect my vote him at all.

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  18. Doug

    "SPREAD THE WEALTH"..........so you TOO can help Obama's ILLEGAL AUNT and the millions of others. I'd have no problem voting for Obama......unfortunately, he has more skeletons in his closet than Jeffrey Dahmer did.

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. Joe Bless

    Hit me (sorry Obama) with your best!!! Is this all CNN and Republicans have on Obama? Sometimes I can't tell the difference between CNN and FOX. We will soon get to know the lady is no Obama relative; but nice try CNN and McCain. Desperation! desperation! desperation!

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  20. badger

    jeez i commented over 30 minutes ago..how long does it take...cnn blogs are lame!!!!! moderation my foot!!!

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  21. Missouri

    THIS is just TOO FUNNY!!! Don't you REPUBS have a job to do? This is EXACTLY why McCain is slipping away. If John McCain cannot run a better campaign than he has, think about how he will run the USA!!

    We need a creative, intelligent, on top of reality PRESIDENT!!

    There are so many problems for US right now. Digging around in the trash is not my idea of creative and intelligent, nor being on top of reality.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008/2012

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  22. John Stryker

    now a Republican CEO just has to hire her because he can dodge taxes, underpay her, offer her no benefits and exploit her work – and she'll be just like every other immigrant in the US.

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  23. Rishi

    Is this news?

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  24. henny

    So what? Is there anything more important to worry about?

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  25. Jane

    Obama knows she is here illegally and did nothing – that speaks volumes.

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
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