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. Gentleman

    Who cares ?

    November 1, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  2. HAWK, TEXAS

    It truly boggles the mind as to how stupid republicans are.

    November 1, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. cheri

    OBAMA IS ALL WORDS NO SUBSTANCE.

    November 1, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Next will be the extreme right's claim to have evidence that Barack Obama is actually female and here illegally.........from Mars!!!

    And the trailer parks will eat it up!!!

    November 1, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Tansi

    In response to Brandy, yes it is important. And your advice to
    "go read a book", why don't you go read the dictionary, allowed is
    ALLOWED, not aloud. Typical Obama supporter.

    November 1, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. Tom

    Aunt Zeitunied = Swift Boated

    November 1, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. darlene

    It figures, one more deception from obama

    November 1, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. Ed

    It is an issue for being a president you will have to deal with illegal imigration issues. How can yuo do that fairly when you have a family member that is here illegaly.

    November 1, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. smmmm

    I am a USMC Veteran and the mother of a son in the Middle East.

    McCain won't tell you that he voted AGAINST up-armoring tactical vehicles for troops in Iraq.

    McCain's a phony! Check IAVA!

    USMC for OBAMA and Joe!

    November 1, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. former republican for OBAMA

    And John McCains brother abused the 911 emergency system when He dialed 911 to complain about the traffic. I mean come on!!!

    November 1, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. Hussein Obama is a Liar

    How Huseein Obama is going to take care US if he doesn't take care his own family?
    He is a liar socialist.

    I knew it this guy is a fake, fraud and fooling people aroung.

    Go McCain you are a real Americam.

    November 1, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. JR

    This is what the AP is after: Our nation is in crisis, our economy in shreds, and war in two places; The immigration status of Obamas Aunt it the least of our worries

    November 1, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. basanti

    i am more interested in Palin's medical records. Does CNN have any update on that?

    November 1, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. DORIS

    OBAMA HAS PROBABLY TAKEN OUT A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY ON HIS AUNT

    November 1, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. Paolo

    I think we have our November surprise. It could be a big issue if Obama knew about this from the beginning and didn't do anything about it.

    But then again it could also be risky for the McCain to bring this up because he has not only voted for but also authored a bill to give the likes of Obama's aunt a chance at the American Dream (if she qualifies). It may paint him as a flip-flopper as he said he would vote against the bill he authored if it came for a vote today.

    November 1, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. tim

    Obama has a laundry list of problems that will be used against
    him by the powers that be if he is elected. I love the comment
    from Bill Clinton about Obama's flopping about with the economic
    crisis–Obama said "tell me what to do and I will sell it". He is
    simply a pawn.

    November 1, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. Candid

    It's so ridiculous to bring up this issue at any time, especially at this moment. That's is the private issue between that family and INS.
    Please don't try to tie Obama to that.

    MY FAMILY AND I ARE VOTING FOR OBAMA.

    November 1, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. Kathy

    This story has everything to do with this election. A member of Obama's family is living in government housing in Boston, why? Where has Obama's support for this women been? He is letting the government take care of his own family instead of stepping up. That is what I call "Selfish". We need to take care of our families, and not expect the government to step in. This is another reason to take a step back and take an honest look at the difference between words and actions...

    November 1, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. Iowan Sick to Death of All This Petty Stuff

    The only reason this is a "supposed" issue is because Obama is running for president. Just like many people making comments on this, there are THOUSANDS of illegal immigrants in this country. Let's start looking at issues COMPLETELY instead of singling out sects of people.

    I am glad this race is about over! I am tired of people trying to find every tiny flaw with Obama. Well, let me tell you...EVERYONE has something in their background that if he/she were running for president it would be skewed to make it look bad!! NO ONE is perfect.

    I voted for Obama and am PROUD of it. I also am happy to have at least seen one article exposing the fact that McCain ALSO had dealings with the supposed PLO leader everyone seems to try and link Obama to! And if I remember the article correctly, McCain's interaction with the "alledged PLO leader" was more INTENSE than Obama.

    Everyone vote for our future!!! Vote Obama!!!

    November 1, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  20. Ofer

    Someone please tell me why this is considered newsworthy? This minor tidbit of so-called news is so supremely unimportant that it should never have graced the screen of my computer. This is yet another example of the media's voyeuristic tendencies in the information age, driven by nothing more than the need to generate stories. And I guarantee the McCain campaign will be all over this, casting aspersions as to Obama's legal status. Who's next, his second cousin twice removed? Or may be it'll be McCain's wife's sister's cousin's dog by marriage?

    November 1, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. jp

    I bet Sarah pailin put this news worthy peace out. That nut will out anything out there so people will pay attention to her. Her light has dimmed and peole are seeing who she really is. The kyles mom from south park. She will ruin the us with mcsame if let in the white house. What will she do to people if she shoots wolves from a chopper.

    November 1, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. 12 HOUSES to 0

    WOW !!!!

    MOST OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION & MCBUSH BELONG

    IN JAIL FOR COSTING US 10 TRILLION DOLLARS OF OUR

    MONEY. & THE LIVES OF OVER 4000 OF OUR CHILDREN.

    IS THERE NO JUSTICE FOR US?

    November 1, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. Don

    Ok, lets see...... Based on most peoples thoughts here lets just imagine that Hitler and a woman came to vist the United States and the woman happens to deliver their baby while in the US. Wow, the baby is now an American Citizen. Does that mean when it grows up it can run for President . That is one way to take over the US from within. Cool!!!!

    November 1, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. C Harris

    Is this IMPORTANT..... I got some relatives in my family that are crazy......

    Should I be held accountable???????????????????????????????????

    November 1, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. Anonymous

    You, the Obama's sacrifiers! Haven you learn the lesson on Sept 11.? May be not because you heart for those who destroys this country. If Obama allows illegal acts when other follows the rules, he thinks he don't have to. He will commit and promote more serious illegal acts. I can't thrust him. Think!!! Who are those terrorists and how sophisticated they are. They have plot for century to destroy our western world of democracy and land of opportunity. Those people who do not value American's freedom and tradition may be should go somewhere else to start another OBAMA empire. NOT in American!! you get it. I am a minority and a colored American. I am not bias and racist. I speak the true. Most young Americans are ignorance and easily be manipulted by OBAMA ' speach which he has been trained and coached by the other group of underground world for a decay to refuse pioson pills with the intention to target on the young Americans a "generation invasion" i,s the same as what people said" Religious and terrorist invasion". At the end what America will look like? Freedom is taken away from you, seize the wealth and give your wealth to his friend and whoever work for them. Remember!!! What comes around goes around! Let see what is next? The trouble is you asked for what you get! It is too late!!!!! Stop the socialist idealogy!!!

    November 1, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58