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. frieda

    there are 10000000000000000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to worry about than this. PLEASE STOP IT.

    November 1, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Joe

    May be here illegally? How about the fact that she is. In every other news source, she is here illegally. Not the other half of the obama ticket. YOU SUCK CNN. osama/cnn ticket

    November 1, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Tony

    Unless you want to investigate the corruption in Boston (and this is not the only one to come to light this last week), this is irrelevent to the election. I don't know what my aunt is doing now – most people don't.

    This kind of b.s. has to stop.

    November 1, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Missouri

    THIS ISN'T FACT YET, FOLKS!!!

    November 1, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. jim Southern OR

    Barry mentions her in his book. He hasn't seen her for 2 years, and she makes illegal contributions to his campaign. She "the aunt of the runner up to the Presidency of the United States." lives in poverty in a run down neighborhood in Socialist Boston. What is going on???
    jim

    November 1, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. Gerda Edwards

    Hmmmm...I'm guessing Obama will now have a new #1 priority, IF he gets elected...a big ol' fat pardon and pressuring the courts and immigration officials to put her at the front of the line for accelerated citizenship.

    People laugh at the Palins, Obama is even more of a soap opera!

    November 1, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. JT

    Independent Thinker,

    Should everyone tie you to the actions of every person you are related to? Do you do a background check on everyone in your family to make sure that they are clean?

    This is his cruddy fathers half sister. How much of a relationship did he have with that side of the family.? If my father cared enough to see me once in my life I could care less about him and anyone else on his side of that family. I doubt that he would have risked his political career for this aunt he hardly knew if at all.

    November 1, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. Lisa

    and my aunt is a kook in the looney bin....your point?

    November 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. Joe

    Great spelling Marissa

    November 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Matt

    Marissa talks about the inteligent Americans voting in Obama. For one she doesn't speak for most Americans. Two, most Americans don't vote and the ones that do are very uneducated about the facts and base their choice on popular opinion and biased news reports.

    November 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. R in Maine

    Typical. You publish this statement with big headlines no confirmation. Stating that you called "someone" but did not get confirmation is not evidence. CNN is becoming as sleazy as Limbaugh and his boys, and as desperate as the GOP. CNN is not a news organization, and has no ethical foundation.

    November 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. tym

    His actions speak louder than his words.....

    November 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Obama Family!

    I see a trend, CNN is hoping for a big story! My wife & I are aware of it for the past 2 weeks. The last thing CNN wants is a LandSlide WIN! They want contreversy because it brings more ratings! At this time all News Organizations are hoping for a November surprise. CNN, I understand your motives, but this story is completely irrelevant!!! In 3 more days the Nations voice will be heard!!! If you support McSame, watch Fixed News (FOX) if you support Obama watch MSNBC.

    OBAMA08

    November 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Simon

    The current administration has alledgedly had four years to deport her, and the administration has failed. Please remind me who has been in charge of the administration during this time.

    November 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. shynynface

    i know that every rock has been turn on senator Obama and I see that there is no sense in thinking that the opposition will ever move away from such small and useless tactics. So I said that to say this that to say this he seems to be able to handle these matters very well and he deserve to be president of United states and I wish him lot of blessings.

    November 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. Alex

    I love how the liberals cry foul over poor Auntie! The important thing is not that Obama's Aunt is flagrantly breaking the law in a way that Obama would surely tolerate (if not facilitate) as President. What's important is that Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant out of wedlock. Liberals – wake up!!!!

    November 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. SB in NoVa

    Keep trying McCain't!

    November 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. gmd

    CNN PLEASE PPOST THIS!!!
    People get a grip!!! You wanna talk about his brother living on a dollar a day...have you ever travelled abroad? I've lived abroad and depending where you live the currency exchange can be quite different! I lived off of $40 a month for food while living abroad...does that make my aunt who happens to be a filthy rich professor a scumbag because she allows her niece to live off $40 a month for food? NO! We had a friend from Ghana come over and I fixed club sandwiches and he complained that it was too much food...this is how they live. His half-aunt is a foreigner and is used to living at a low standard...get off your high horses and get out and travel and see how people live....oh sorry...your in a recession right now, huh. Wonder why?

    November 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. B Evans

    It is his Aunt...last I check, that means she is family...as a public figure, your fmaily is fair game and if you knew that she was here illegally, he should have done something about it...instead, he didn't share this until the last minute...what else is he hiding..there are a lot of illegals in the US, doesn't make it right...last I checked, illegal means against the law...and none of those illegals have a nephew running for President of the US....and on top of this, she was living in public housing...which means your paycheck was paying for her housing...I guess that is us paying for others to get a piece of the good life...so vote for Obama and increase your taxes you fools.

    November 1, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Shawn

    Marissa from Maryland,

    I am not a republican. I am an American. I am an American who has studied world history. The implications of Obama's terrorist and radical ties are nothing to ignore. His tactic of using the press to support his cult of personality is a time proven tactic of dictators. Read your history, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Chavez, Che Guevara, Castro, Pol Pot, and Mao, are all leaders who have taken the freedoms of their citizens according to history in this same manner. Ignore the lessons of history at your own peril. I for one, will not.

    November 1, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. surprise

    This is stupid reporting...she is illegal and is leaving in government housing...if it is the case don't you think the government know where to find her and deport her....

    commom use common sense...

    November 1, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Over it

    And in other news, CNN has learned that John McCain MAY have let an illegal alien mow one of his seven lawns; Cindy McCain MAY maintain a secret supply of illegally obtained pain pills; and Sarah Palin MAY have bounced a check once at her favorite consignment store, which MAY be guilty of trademark infringement for illegally using another established company's name.

    CNN– try as you might, your attempts to ad drama and suspense to this election are tired. Try reporting real NEWS and leaving suppositions to the Enquirer.

    November 1, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. Jimmy from New York

    And will President Obama fully support the constitution and enforce the laws?

    ALL of them?

    November 1, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. Gaurav

    CNN, NBC, FOX have all come to be know as biased newscasters, its almost comical to watch your presenters and read your articles without laughing at how you educate the public with predispositions set by those controlling America and aiding it to disaster. What a shame! You are no less corrupt and deranged.

    November 1, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. Larique from CT

    So what?

    November 1, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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