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. guze

    "touch not my annointed......."CNN leave the man alone and his family.

    November 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. New Jersey for Obama

    Are we now checking the status of every relative of every candidate now? McCain was born where? Palin's husband wants to succeed from America and Palin spoke at the the Alaska Independence Party, which her husband was a member of, which by the way, cursed the American Flag. Isn't that more news worthy?
    Obama and Biden in just 3 more days!!!!!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. willy

    I am hearing the fat lady sing. Why are you trying to shut her up?

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Steve

    This story doesn't even matter. However, I am sick of hearing people claim that Obama is not actually a citizen of the United States. He was born in Hawaii and there is even an official birth certificate scanned and posted online that you can find. I WAS a Republican before the Republican Party embraced the biggoted, bible-thumping, anti-intellectual faction of the party. I now consider myself independent, however, its getting to the point where I may openly embrace the Democratic Party as the alternative is too much of a joke to consider.

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. nobama

    You liberals can't stand it when a "non-issue" like this is reported but it's fine when you try to make an issue of Palin's pregnant daughter or Palin's wardrobe. Talk about double standard! If you can't take it, don't dish it out.

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. chester

    Obamas aunt should move to Chicago and live close to Barack once he loses the election and goes back to being the jr. senator from Illinois he really is, nothing more but turns out allot less. America....think of your country first for a CHANGE, elect a true experienced leader and American Hero John McCain. Our country deserves a real leader, not a inexperienced talker.

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Jeff, North Dakota

    The republicans are pinning this on Obama to sway undecided voters? The McSame campaign is disgusting.

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. ibextati

    I can't believe CNN is following Drudge to put this for discussion. Last night Drudge also reported that she donated the $260 to Obama camp, but that story has been removed from his website. Was he spreading false stories?

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  9. indy chris

    and mccain's brother committed a crime by calling 911 to complain about traffic. is that john's fault?

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. Eric

    It will have no bearing on how people vote. It is a small matter. You can try to amplify it all you want to. We need to ask ourselves what relationship does this have on potential presidency. It is just more dirt.

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. Liz

    “Americans’ greatest moral failure in my lifetime,” Obama said, “has been that we still don’t abide by that basic precept in Matthew that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.”

    “Most people understand that if you are not caring for your family, then you are probably not the kind of person who is going to be caring for other people.” ~Barack Obama, October 24, 2008

    Just words.

    He did describe her affectionately in his memoir Dreams of My Father, however. Recounting his first meeting with Onyango, Obama recalls how she said, “You take good care of Barry now.” “Make sure he doesn’t get lost again,” she admonished Obama’s cousin. But as Obama climbed the political and social ladders of the Ivy League and of inner city Chicago, he became more and more “lost” to the relatives about whom he waxes poetic in a text he wrote for personal and political profit.

    This all ties into his desire to redistribute wealth. Who needs to make a living so as to care for a family when it can be taken from their neighbor via handouts?

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. KPB

    Im sure if you right-wing nuts could hire her to be your maid at $2/ hr you wouldnt have that big of a problem with her being here.

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Patriot

    Now we know why Obama wants to take money from working Americans and "spread the wealth" – to illegals.

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. dbcrum

    Why are you radical libs so critical of CNN reporting this. They are in the tank for your man.

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. Ex-Republican in Philadelphia

    CNN continually tries to throw curve balls to whoever is leading in the polls to try to even up the race. If one candidate appears to be solidly winning, then people pay less attention to the news and CNN's advertising revenue begins to drop. So, from CNN's perspective, it's a good thing to attempt to hurt one candidate or the other to keep people reading and watching. I'm completely offended by actions like this and long ago ceased to view CNN as unbiased or of having balanced reporting. They do what's best for their bottom line. So, go to as many new sources as you can.

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

    Lets embrace her and give her our money! Isn't this the change that we want?? As an American people, lets take all the destitute, illegal immigrants or otherwise and support them like our own children. Because sadly in this case as well as so many others, her own family hasn't stepped up to help her.

    CHANGENISM!

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. Dave

    By any other standard during the campaign process this probably would have been the end of Obama's run but with only two days to go every Obama supporter will make this out to be "no big deal"

    Give me a break! Obama has not been fully vetted.

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. bond_dallas

    I don't see why this is news. But I tell you this will charge up the latino vote that has illegal relatives here in the US. I like the prospects of this.

    November 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. 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 people 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 him a member of the KKK. Thats about how stupid all your idiotic accussations have been.

    November 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. Henry

    Dad's half-sister so who cares? How many brothers and sisters did Dad who abandoned Obama have?

    The interesting question is why Bush Administration federal officials are releasing confidential information in an attempt to influence an election. The Bush Administration has no shame.

    November 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. Steve

    This is just another part of Obama's Character that the Democrats don't want to hear about. He has Millions of dollars off his books and yet won't even help his own realtives out. And you expect him to help out all of America on his "Promises". He promised a TAX CUT for anyone making less then $250k. Then $200k, The $150k...and now $120k. What's next, $100...$50? He has been lying this whole time and you don't care just because he's not Bush or McCain. You don't want a Republican in office cause the last 8 years were so bad. I guess everyone forgot about 9/11 and what that did to our country. How quickly you turn on the hand that protects you. I guess if another terrorist attack happens, you will just blame that on Bush too, cause that's all he's good for, the Scapegoat.

    Ask Obama if he is a REAL AMERICAN CITIZEN without producing a real Birth Certificate. His own Grandmother said he was born in Kenya. Boy, I guess she was lying.

    Stop asking for Palin to release her Medical Records. She will only do that when Obama releases his and not some Doctor Note saying he's fine. He has been a Smoker for quite some time, I guess he has ZERO health issues, cough cough.

    He may be your Chosen One, but to me, he's the Anti Christ.

    Go ahead and Moderate this till the Thread Closes like you do all my posts cause it's not a Pro-Obama post

    November 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. Bill_ MA

    Wolf couldn't trip up Barack Obama in his interview, so they pull this crap out of the bag. Is Campbell Brown going to run with this? American history will judge your journalism, and commentary along with the greater news organizations who would not stoop to the depth you have.

    November 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. dj

    First of all the key words are "possibly"..."not yet verified" and, by the way, what does this have to do with Obama! What's next!!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  24. STUNNED

    You should be ashamed to print this at any time. We are all humans. The implication in printing this story by any news agency implies that they are less...humans, that is.. or ethical or empathetic

    November 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  25. johnosahon

    and Palin's husband is a member of the Alaska Independent Party while Cindy's sisters were thrown out of their father's will.

    HOW IS THIS NEWS?

    LEAVE THE WOMAN ALONE.

    November 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
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