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. Raine

    I am glad that I don't live in the US any more. It seems most of the Americans have gone stupid, and getting worse. If you look at what Obama promises on paper, you will notice he says one thing and then he says the opposite. Thank God I don't live in the US any more and that I live in a country that has oil with a real good standard of living and education. Something the Americans had and have turned their back on, and selling their birth right for a pot of nothing! Obama will destroy what America really stands for, Obama doesn't have anything to offer to the Americans except false hope and empty promises.

    He promise to raise taxes on the big corporation, then later he promise to lower the taxes on big corporation. MAKE YOUR MIND UP! That is if you have a half a mind!

    November 1, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. LOL

    This happens every day here with our own citizens. Check Joe's credentials, so far he is a tax evader and owes back child support, totally lied about everything and mccain wants to make him a hero////

    November 1, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. bob in LA

    Is this the OCtober surprise? Not enough of one.
    Why is this just coming out?

    November 1, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. tiff of Lithia Springs

    LYNNE,

    Guess what? We had BUSH in office for 8 years>

    IT'S ALREADY TOO LATE!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. John in Iowa

    Go and read the Timesonline story as well for the full details that they have before posting.

    November 1, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  6. florella broyles

    who care if obamas aunt is illigal .she is not running for president.

    November 1, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  7. sarah

    Some are asking, "Why is this news?" and "So?"

    Read the article people. She's here illegally, and she donated to his campaign. That's illegal too.

    November 1, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Thomas

    Please!
    Leave it to the Republicans to dig this up.
    Dose this mean they want a wall around the whole of the USA?

    When has a candidate been held for ethics violations as Governor, then run for vice president ?

    Why hasn't Palin released her medical records ?

    What's next , Obama doesn't eat hot dogs?

    November 1, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. victor, NC

    You guys should worry more about Palin's Health records being well overdue than a half aunt from Kenya whom hasn't committed a crime.

    Please CNN don't make yourselves appear as another another FOX News channel!

    November 1, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. mike jacobs in mesa arizona

    what she is not here the right way and us tax payers are paying it lol im pissed

    November 1, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. Joe

    Another example of Obama being less than honest with America. Isn't accepting campaign contributions from foreigners a violation of federal law?

    November 1, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. bonix8

    i am very disappointed that CNN is reporting this as news, it is not. go dig and report something about McCain ditching his first wife for a wealthy woman, the wealthy woman's drug addiction and Sarah Failin's abuse of power.

    November 1, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. dems be losers

    " I am my brothers keeper.......I am my sisters keeper" *

    This from Obama's coronation speech.....

    * This offer does not apply to family members if I have to use my own money

    November 1, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. valerie

    Are you serious ? CNN? this story is something i would expect from "Fixed News" This is why i watch only MSNBC!

    November 1, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. Smarter than that

    I'lll be glad when AP finally goes broke... coming soon

    November 1, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. jason, tx

    so?

    November 1, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. BC

    McCain is so pathetic – Yeah, this is a big October Surprise, isn't it? I'm waiting for the big one about Palin. Anything to do with those medical records maybe?

    November 1, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. WOMEN FOR OBAMA

    WHO CARES CNN!!!!!!!!!!??

    November 1, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. naliakar

    If you wish to detect political neutrality laced with subliminal raceismyou just have to listen to Lou Dobbs, Parse comments by John k, and analyses the slant of Wolf's questioning and Cooper's emphasis. Really CNN is worse than Fox news. They are doing all they can to advance Obam's foreigness allegations.

    November 1, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. JimmyJam

    Wow, I didn't realize how many people had been hypnotized by Obama's smooth talking...

    November 1, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. olasheba

    so what? he who does not know that there are millions of illegal immigrants in this country should raise his hand.

    November 1, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. cheri

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THIS ISSUE IS UNIMPORTANT. IF THIS WAS PALIN'S AUNT, YOU'LL ALL BE ALL OVER HER, CRUCIFYING HER. MAY THE MOCKERS GET WHAT'S COMING......

    November 1, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Dug

    He must not be very close to her. Otherwise how could he and his wife (in the weathy bracket of $250K+/yr) allow her to live in public housing? I certainly would help my aunt if I were in a similar situation.
    If he doesn't care for his family, we need to know this about his character as we vote.

    November 1, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. Alfred

    Not "may" but "is" here illegally. And so is Barack...

    November 1, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. Katrina

    This story is relevant how...?

    November 1, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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