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. "

Full story

soundoff (1,442 Responses)
  1. Marci

    Hmmmmm, now that the media is reporting about Obama's FAMILY are we allowed to talk about McCain's infidelity and Palin's pregnant daughter???? I thought we weren't allowed to bring family into the discussion.

    Weren't those the rules a few months ago when Palin was introducing her pregnant, unmarried teenager that has all the conservative morals that they keep talking about???

    This story is ridiculous.

    Obama/Biden 2008!

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. NB

    I don't understand why CNN is so much interested in mud sliding Obama. Are you guys going to put Fox new out of business.
    Please we need issues. Tell us about issues . The real issues.
    Stop being anti Obama.................

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. asmitab

    How is this political news? If she wasn't Obama's aunt would this story end up on a national news website? I think NOT!! Come on, are you running our of negatives to hit our newest president with??

    November 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Lene Fla

    Did anyone not hear that Vanity Fair is trying to obtain records of an accident McCain had while Lieutenant in the Navy in 1964?

    There was a fatality in that crash and McCain may have been drinking.

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. faith

    WATEVER CNN(CANNIVING NEWS NETWORK)

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. Will Westmoreland

    How is this a newsworthy event? To pull this out three days before the election is absurd and reflects poor judgement. Now the Republicans will run an add claiming that Obama supports illegal immigration even though he probably has no idea what his Aunt's status is. Pundits continuously complain that candidates do not discuss the issues but look at what the news media proffers up as newsworthy. Very poor decision CNN.

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Dave

    Everyone seems to miss the point that not every illegal immigrant has a nephew runnuing for the Presidency.

    and..... does it not make any of you so desperate for change wonder just what exactly you are getting? Bush has been a nightmare but an Obama unknown could be very scary.

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. daniel Brown

    Shame on you CNN. This smacks of Karl Rove, and increasingly so do you.

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Judith

    Stop this nonsense... Verify whether she is legal or illegal... than report it.

    Far more important, although late in the game, is obtaining all the medical records of the 4 candidates. Why haven't they been released?

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  10. kelli

    THE KEY WORD IN THIS HEADLINE IS MAYBE. WHY WOULD YOU REPORT A STORY ON A MAYBE. WHAT HAPPEN TO DELAMATION OF PEOPLE'S CHARACTER.

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Anonymous

    This is sad that you people don't care that this woman is living illegally AND is getting public housing! You cant tell me OSAMA does not know about this. Outrageous, just another shaddy incident.

    Rev Wright- Who Cares!?
    2 links to shady people. Who Cares!?
    How many more? Wake up people!

    This is OUR country. You will be the first to go if you don't wake up. I'm just tring to help you help yourself.

    McCain=hero. Proven.

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. Jeanie

    Oh, here we go again. Can't find anything wrong with Obama's impeccable character so let's look at those around him. Give me a break!!!

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. willy

    Is this all the (so-called) October surprise you got for us? I'm gonna need more than that...And still I would have to go back and change my vote.

    P.S.: An ILLEGAL who voted for OBAMA.

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  14. Amy

    I will still vote for Obama.
    I don't care if he's brother is poor, his aunty illegal....etc
    I voting for him not for his aunty......So, What the big issue?
    With this things going on I think he is a REAL guy

    Oh, by the way, the Mc Cain campaign is crying because Arnold (the terminator) is not an American citizen......to get an excitement crown Mc Cain had to bring the terminator!!

    Obama inspires and rocks for himself!

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. Vietnam_Vet71

    Okay CNN–go to the old lady's apartment and make a citizen's arrest.

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. Mark

    Yes, Yes, lets try to find a way we can pin this on the Republicans. Lets defer the attention to them all the while one of the most liberal news stations is reporting the story.
    You people crack me up.
    Mark

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. John S

    Here we go. Ignorant, uneducated people like TAINPOWER trying to stir lies again. Give your heads a shake and get an education. Okay, last time I am doing this to inform you very very stupid peoiple who do not know how to research the truth. Obama was born in Hawaii in April of 1961. He has a birth certificate from the State of Hawaii. And also, for you uneducated individuals, and you know who you are, right TAINPOWER. He's birth was published in the Honolulu Tribune Newspaper on the day he was born. So, keep trying Repukes. You have less then 3 days to go. Maybe you should try calling in a member of the KKK. Thats about how stupid all your idiotic accussations have been.

    November 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. Disgusted Citizen

    I find it absolutely disgusting the amount of people who are eager to spew garbage and hate about illegal immigrants without any clue as to what is really going on. I think the "United" States of America needs to wake up and remember it's roots. I guess its easy to forget that we were all (with the exception of the Native Americans, who make up maybe 2% of the total population of our country) immigrants originally fleeing from persecution and terrible dead-end lives.

    Its easy to point fingers at illegal immigrants when you're ignorant of your own ancestry and their plight in this country. You should be incredibly ashamed of yourselves.

    November 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. give it up

    TAINOPOWER do some fact checking before you spew your vile words.

    Obama was born in Hawaii...

    So give it up, it was proven....

    November 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. AGA

    So I guess since Cheney and Obama are distant cousins, then Cheney also has a relative that is potentially illegal. Cut with this garbage and get on with the election.

    November 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  21. faith

    whatever cnn(canniving news network)

    November 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. Richelle-Ohio

    And this is important because???? Desperate times, Desperate measures.

    November 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. dtaylor

    Are you people stupid or what? Anyone that is still questioning Obama's citizanship obviously must be living in a cave. This has already been proven and is a non-issue. Just admit that you don't want to vote for the man but don't repeat imaginary facts that have already been proven false.

    As for this aunt, I doubt it is going to change any votes but we don't even know the full story. The article says she "MAY" be illegal..we don't know if Obama was even aware she was here or what type of interaction or relationship they have But some of you are so anti-Obama you've already jumped to conclusions that we don't know WHO he really is. This man has been vetted for years now...open your eyes, ears and minds....

    November 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. Delores

    I am honorable enough to admit a mistake CNN. Sorry, I did missed reading everything. However, ever since CNN did not air Obama Infomercial, I have become concerned where they stand with Obama and McCain. Also as far as I know, they did not mention when doing the interview with McCain and Larry King, that McCain gave nearly 500,000 to this organization of Khalili(sp?) organization. That makes me wonder about how fair CNN is becoming with Obama.

    November 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. Setys

    You "Tainpower" do you know that McCain was born outside USA? AT least Senator Obama was born in Haiwai. How low can you get by lying about Senator Obama's mom. Do you have proof that his mother left the country? Are you just dumb not read that his father came into thiscountry to study and met his mother?

    Your lies does not hold, I am even wondering why am I bothering to replying to your comment.

    Please, supporters vote early for Senator Obama and Senator Biden.

    November 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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