November 1st, 2008
12:43 PM ET
4 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. Karla

    I find it interesting that this story has folks calling for Gov Palins' medical records/ Why are you not calling for Sen Obama's medical records?

    I am not sure thatSen Obama was even aware that his aunt was here illegally I find it telling that although she is mentioned in his book she did not even ask he or his wife for help/Family is family after all and that is somethig that Sen Obama's supports/families being responsible for families. I find this telling in many ways

    November 1, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Greg

    Jacob, Palin is the only candidate who hasn't released her medical records.

    November 1, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. Theresa

    Boring....who cares? Obama is not responsible for getting extended family members greencards or visas anymore than I am! If it were his wife or children that would be a different matter. Move on....

    November 1, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Dottie

    The story about Obama's relative is horrible....When you deport her ..deport the billions of Mexican you have let in illegally and given free housing ..dental and health care and Wic cards for all illegal babies ...Also pay there hospital bill to have babies. Obama has ran a clean campaign ...It's a shame the other side can't do the same.

    November 1, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. USA rocks

    McCain was born while his father was serving this country in the military, for all of you that did not know that. What about the fact that Obama's records have been closed in Hawaii. What more does he have to hide. Wake up America, we know nothing about this guy..other than change? What change? Spread the wealth? Why doesn't he spread the wealth to his Aunt that is in our country illegally??

    November 1, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Trudy Braden

    It's the law that a person born in the U.S. is a U.S. citizen and eligible to be President. Hawaii is a U.S. state, and Obama was born there. So where is the idea that he's not an American citizen coming from?
    The idea of Sarah Palin possibly becoming President chills my blood. If she handled the country the way she handles Alaska, we'd be that much closer to a total national downfall.

    November 1, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. CB2

    CNN you all are so sad!!!!!!!!! But why am I surprised!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. TAINOPOWER

    It was not immediately clear how Onyango might have qualified for public housing with a standing deportation order.? Ask obama he will tell you.

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. Minneapple gal

    who givs a care???? THis is nothing but a smear tactic but the reTHUGlicans

    I hope we drive them out in 3 days from local to national

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. Concerned in MA

    No surprise – Barry himself has not proven his citizenship yet.

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. red, yellow, black and white

    Give the lady a green card already.

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. David

    Are you conservatives for real?! Is Obama American? Um..duh. HIS MOTHER WAS AMERICAN! Read the constitution someday. You might learn something. It's called Jus Sanguinis, and it's what everyone would know if we had a decent education system in this country.

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. jG

    Why is it a big deal? She lives in public housing and it's taxpayers' money used here–that's why!

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Bob Stephens

    McSame continues to try and divert attention from the Bush-McSame policies of the last 8 years. How stupid...

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. Anonymous

    see why is it allright to go into cindy mccains info and joe the plummer and the media runs it but when obama has issues like this this is bad that means if she is here without right then she is making me pay for her to be here im sorry i have a family i dont know her why should tax payers have to pay for her see this is what im saying he still have stuff comeing out of the closet

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Bringthanoize

    Just some more of the Republican's favorite political dish lately- facetious balderdash. This type of story only appeals to the party hardliners not the critical thinkers.

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. M.K

    How does this aid the ailing economy?

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. max

    so who cares? any votes for Stupid Sarah coming from this?

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. dlb

    SO WHAT!!!!!

    WHO CARES!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. vicki

    Shame on you CNN!!!!

    If you want to go there so bring it on the articles on Palin abuse of power and abuse of Ethic law. Bring on McCain's cheating, KEating 5, bring on Cindy's drug abuse and Palins husband membership in Independend group. These are more serious.

    November 1, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Charlie Bradley

    This practically screams of something McCain and caribou Barbie would stoop to. Its got nothing to do with Barack Obama For President.

    Hey, Palin, you like some cheese to go with that wine?

    November 1, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. liz

    THIS CLEARLY INDICATES THAT CNN IS COMPLETELY BIASED. WHY POST THIS JUST THREE DAYS TO ELECTION DAY. WHY HOLD ON TO IT FOR SO LONG. I AM SURE CNN AND OTHER ALIKE HAD LOOKED INTO BARACK OBAMA FAMILY HISTORY LOOKING FOR A WAY TO BRING HIM DOWN.

    November 1, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. bill

    Why isn't she being DEPORTED ???

    November 1, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    SO. How many government employed people using taxpayers money did it take to find one illegal immigrant. Just more proof of why the Bush administration has failed to enforce immigration laws.

    November 1, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  25. Kilia

    So what, CNN???? Lord a Mercy!!

    November 1, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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