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. Catholic for McCain

    Obama not only support to kill babies( pro-abortion) but also support illegal aliens in US.

    He didn't have the decency to take her aunt living in poverty having the means to do it, but he want to spread the wealth around with somebody else money.

    Obama is a fraud , fake and cheap polititian.

    Mccain is honest man with integrity ready to be President.

    November 1, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. Helena

    To Stephen from Kentucky:

    Barack Obama was born in Hawaii of the United States of America: August 4, 1961.
    His father Barack Obama, Sr. was born in Kenya. Barack's mother Ann Dunham was born in Kansas.

    November 1, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  3. Jim

    CNN your making me sick with this phony crap! Who Cares?

    November 1, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Jen from NY

    What does that have anything to do with the election? How many people in this country are living here illegally. This will have nothing to do with my vote for Obama.

    November 1, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. Robert

    So, deport the illegal immigrant woman! No marxist socialist radicals in the White House please!

    November 1, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Andrew

    If this was McCain's family member, the media would be shouting hypocrite.

    Obama in an inexperienced extreme leftist.

    November 1, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. David Goldman

    ITS A LITTLE OD THAT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS

    TARGETING ONE PERSON WHO MIGHT BE RELATED

    TO SENATOR OBAMA & NOT THE OTHER 12 MILLION ?

    THIS IS JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE BUSH NAZI TACTICS.

    November 1, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. Robert

    Is is true that McCain military records were sealed? If so, at who's request and why?

    November 1, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  9. Angela

    This is really important news because...?

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

    My pessimistic impression is the lady will be allowed to stay because of her powerful connection to Sen. Obama. I admit I had planned to vote for McCain but I am so discouraged y his numbers, the economy and the negativity....I do not think it matters who wins the white house...rough days are ahead. I wish i was related to some nobility.

    November 1, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  11. Jody

    Comrade Obama probably knew his "Auntie" was here illegally...

    Who is paying for Comrade Obama to run for office....

    George Soros who proclaimed he would take the USA down
    and will do it through Obama.

    Listen up Comrades for Obama....

    Did you ever study any History at all in High School or College.

    Go live in Russia awhile and see how you like it.....

    Coming here soon if Obama is elected.

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

    pathetic, CNN!

    November 1, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Margaret

    Wow...let's get real. This would be Barack Obama's deceased father's sister? The father that left his son when he was a year old? Who cares? I hope Barack Obama says that she is on her own with this because he should have no responsibility to it at all. "W" would have more responsibility for her than Barack Obama. I am going to the voting place on Tuesday in South Carolina and I am going to cast my vote for Barack Obama.

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. kimberly

    who cares! Like Obama knows everything about every relative.. My relatives that are recent immigrants could be lying about their legal status – how would i know – i never check their documentation -

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. your average girl

    and yet another trivial matter to try to distract voters

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. Perusing-Through

    UNBELIEVEABLE!!

    If Obama-Biden wins the Presidency, somebody has got to do a movie (much like Tom Hank's "Band of Brothers"), thoroughly telling the story of these two men and the STUPID & RIDICULOUS stuff these two men must navigate and overcome just to rescue this nation and serve the country.

    No wonder we can't get quality leadership. Who wants to go through this garbage??

    GOD Bless the United States of America!
    GOD Bless the Obama-Biden Leadership Team!

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. mumsie2008

    CNN is so biased on their reporting. Why are you guys so anti Obama? You guys on CNN are beginning to be worried. Leave Obama alone. His auntie living illegally in American has nothing to do with Obama. Please back off.

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. Trokon

    This Obama aunt stroy is foolishness. Do you know all of McCain and Sarah anuts or relatives. CNN go to bed. Obama will be the next President. Put it in the book and carry at the bank. I am tire of people saying all they can to bring this good man down. Just how other people think they love McCain and Sarah, It is the same love we have for this Man, Obama to our blood. he represents a hold lots of Americans. Think for your so-call news. BYE Mr news man. !!/4?08 will tell.

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. Beth

    The bigger issue here is WHY WASN'T HE TAKING CARE OF HER??? He talks about the "selfishness" of conservatives who don't want to pay higher taxes, and he's a millionaire with an aunt living in the slums???

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. America Hussein

    Obama's aunt - So have him give her back the $30 and get her papers straight, or send her home.

    Sarah's medical records - Those are presonal, private & protected by law, just like yours. If you were running for President, would you really want people to see you sought help for a yeast infection back in 1984? Please. Only the results of her most recent overall physical are relevent to her bid for the vice-presidency. That she should release.

    Now - what about the issues? Health care? Unemployment? War? Last night I sat through 3 or 4 negative ads from the McCain campaign that tried to scare me away from voting for Obama, 1 clearly informative ad from Obama, and 1 ad clarifying that the McCain campaign was quoting Biden incompletely to try to make it look like he was slamming Obama. How transparant it is that the McCain campaign feels it can ONLY win by tearing Obama down in some personal way instead of talking about the issues. Their attempts to scare and emotionally manipulate people are pathetic and insulting.

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. asian for obama

    this is totally irrelevant to the more important issues that face our nation- the ECONOMY. I won't be surprised if I see McCain's campaign jump on this story- they're totally desperate.

    I voted early FOR OBAMA! woo hoo!

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. Jade 661

    Please stop this nonsense. There are so many important issues out there that I find it incredible that this is even news. Many people in our country are facing tremendous financial difficulties. We need a COMPETENT government in power. Just compare the campaigns of each candidate. Which one is impulsive and disorganized and which is well organized, calm, and capable. If you still want McCain, I give up!

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. sine

    It's quite funny – 2 days ago republicans were saying how Obamas aunt was living in some slum in boston and how obama wanted nothing to do with her. and now they find out she is illegal so her and obama are tied at the hip and he helped her??

    republicans are so desperate!!!

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. NebraskaVoice

    Kate November 1st, 2008 10:33 am ET

    Here is a newsworthy story .. WHERE ARE SARAH PALIN'S MEDICAL RECORDS? This woman could be the next vice president in 3 days. This is extremely important given that John McCain is 72 and a cancer survivor.
    ======================================================
    Where is Obama's records? Not the one piece of paper issed by some doctor; Obama did drugs we should be concerned about that . And Biden had brian cancer for God sakes...

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. Pat

    phil November 1st, 2008 10:33 am ET

    Where is Palin's health records?????
    --------------
    Before you "spout off" further, phil, here's a fact:

    Medical records are confidential and protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It was put into place to protect patient privacy and also ensures privacy of all accumulated health information that belongs to the patient.

    It was signed into law in 1996 under the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Healthcare providers nationwide were required to comply with the rules and regulations of privacy protection by April of 2003.

    Only the patient and anyone directly involved in his/her care can have access to this information – NOT some campaign strategist - or belligerent blogger!

    November 1, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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