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. Joe

    CNN....do your job...this all stinks to high heaven, and about 50% of the country are really beginning to wonder if they are fools. Those would be the Obamacrats

    It is just not fair for the left to cling to twisted ideals of racism, sexism, socialism and communism for their support, then be forced to face the reality of corrupt leadership.

    They need a CNN that publishes only positive news about Mr. Obama, you should not even a hint that he is a total fraud.

    Please, be more fair with your reporting, and ignore about his aunt's problems.

    November 1, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. Chris

    She is illegal in the U.S. Even MSNBC states that she is illegal.

    November 1, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  3. Msladyc

    Who cares, Obama's aunt problem is her problem.

    November 1, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. AmericanFeminist

    Oh, and John, you and the people who are still hanging onto the idea that Barack Obama was born outside the USA need to get over it. Unlike Palin, he was properly vetted.

    You neo-cons will have to cling to some other mindnumbing idea. Honestly, the thought that a Presidential candidate could get this far in the election process and no one can prove he was born in the US? You're hopeless.

    November 1, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. facts are facts

    CNN you have out did yourselves this time with this garbage. You are turning out to be the most gutless news organization in America. You publish something like this story with no relevance to the election to try and discredit a candidate yet you don't have the integrity to publish anything about Palin or McCain with their shady backgrounds.

    Try a real story of interest like where are Palin's medical records that will show she has only had 4 children which is a lie of enormous proportion.

    November 1, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. QNAHRU

    You mean to tell me in the last three days this is all you have on Obama. come on give me a break ! Holloween was yesterday. This is so far fetched its not worth talking about.

    November 1, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  7. chris (SF)

    Close to a million in lightings and stage crafts for the Berlin concert pacifies one's ego. Close to 5 millions dollars spent on an infomercial during an economic crisis strokes one's extravagance needs. But having the right character to keep one's words to the voters and having the courage to sacrafice for the country and its people is PRICELESS! Mccain, the character, the integrity and the courage we need now. The best of luck and may god bless you senator! Mccain-Palin 2008

    November 1, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. LG in Atl

    and to Blue By You....It affects the economy as it 's just one of millions of examples of illegals living here on our tax dollars and consuming resources which should be used for our poor or elderly Americans!

    November 1, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. midwest mom

    who cares? to the press...if you consider this important, you have been trained by the journalist (I use that word loosely) at Fox News....

    November 1, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  10. VICTORIA

    CNN WHY IS THIS NEWS, YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO THROW EVERYTHING ON THE WALL TO SEE IF IT STICKS. WHO CARES START REPORT REAL NEWS!

    November 1, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  11. CARMEN

    obama was born in hawaii so he is a citizen,people wake up and realize there is only one party that can make a big difference in our lives.i am not worried about his relatives,i am worried about my house and my bills,my daughter's education and obama is the only one that mentions the lives of ordinary people like me.the choice is clear,get the republicans out of the way and bring on the real people.havent you guys noticed the hate and fear that the republicans bring on to the table,i do not see that with democrats.obama is cool,crisp and fresh and that my friends is what is needed to lead the usa.god bless you all!

    November 1, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. Greg

    Why don't you guys gohead and join Fox and throw a white sheet over your head and cut the eyes out.

    November 1, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. brian

    relevance?- leave this elderly woman alone. let the immigration folks sort this out with her.

    November 1, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. docrock,tx

    John McCain was born in Panama.He is not only illegal,he cannot take office if elected.Too bad CNN" moderates" Free Speech to death.

    November 1, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. Kenzie from Texas

    When will a serious investigation begin into Senator Obama’s citizenship? This issue is legitimate, has not been answered with an honest, forthright approach and speaks to the very heart of our Constitutional protection. While it may be an awkward time to seriously ask the question and investigate, it is also incumbent upon the Constitutionally protected American media to provide the American public with certain protections when the very fabric of the Constitution is at risk of degradation.

    There are now enough evidence, witnesses, and questions to warrant a review and you CNN should take the lead on this.

    Kindly,

    Stephen
    Wilmore, KY
    _______________________________________________________
    Sorry to break it to ya Stephen but this has already been done. Obama's Official, certified by the State of Hawaii( Yes thats in America) Birth Certificate was released long ago. Along with the 47 yr old newspaper clipping announcing his birth in Hawaii.

    What more proof do people want? Isnt it strange that he is the 1st Presidential Candidate that has had to prove this? I think not.

    November 1, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. TK

    What has this to do with the price of egg's???

    November 1, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  17. Buckeye

    There are no illegal immigrants just as there are no illegal humans.
    Immigrants, like others, do occasionally commit illegal acts. Big Difference!

    November 1, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. David

    Hey Paula where are Obama's full medical records and his transcripts from college? Where are Biden's brain scans?

    Why isn't Obama helping his own family? Is he ashamed of them? That IS the story!

    November 1, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. Bobby

    Kick her out of the country!

    November 1, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. john

    oh PAAALEEEEASE!!
    Even If that's true its not like shes a close relative whose over for dinner every night

    November 1, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. case

    Those saying Obama's not a citizen are truly showing their ignorance. Go back to 8th grade civics and read up on what constitutes citizenship. Plus He was born to a white 18 year old kansan in Hawaii.... please explain how that would make him kenyan? Would you have smeared Bill Richardson in same way....of course you would have...

    November 1, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  22. Mark

    if this is true then round her up with all the others and ship them out. just like they do to all the others. Also, since she is over age she should have no problems getting a legal status in our country. Same treatment for all the Illegals, treat them all the same way.

    November 1, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. Texas Teacher

    And the point is......... ????

    I don't see that this is an issue that services any purpose. It sounds exactly the McCain/Palin garbage digging and slinging!

    November 1, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  24. Karen in Ohio

    Now explain to us why this matters and more importantly why is this even considered news? I have aunts and uncles that I have no idea where they are.....did you consider for a moment that this might be news to Senator Obama??
    I just lost a lot of respect for CNN for even considering this newsworthy. Shame on you for spreading more negativity during an election that has been nothing but negative and spreading of lies.
    Can't help but wonder what McDesperate paid to get this story out just days before the election.

    November 1, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  25. dee

    Obama has won

    The mesmerism of the fears have melted away.

    Powered by the people

    November 1, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
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