November 1st, 2008
12:43 PM ET
8 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. Donal

    Jeez, they're grasping at little tiny straws. Amazing to me how much effort the news organizations, AP, Fox, CNN, are trying to shift the mighty winds of the ordinary people. Blow your BS, AP.

    November 1, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Colin

    Honestly who cares? Why is this even being brought up? It's like CNN feels bad for some of the dumb things McCain and its supporters have done so it has to dig deep to attempt to bring up some dirt on Obama, which this isn't dirt.

    Stephen Kentucky- do you honestly think our government is that stupid to to not really know whether Obama was born in the United States or not? He was born in Hawaii get over it!!!!! If you want to get TECHNICAL McCain wasn't born in the United States he was born in Panama look it up. Give me a break.

    November 1, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. tpipe Owosso MI

    Sorry about the grocery problem, many of us have the same issues out here.
    Budgeting is tough, internet access is expensive. Maybe you can find a cheaper service and feed your kids.

    November 1, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. AJ in Fla

    Ladies and Gentlemen, never mind his aunt, have anyone seen his birth certificate, ....???????

    November 1, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. DI


    November 1, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Craner

    The core issue is that Obama's campaign fundraising apparatus has no controls in place to screen whether contributions are legal or illegal. This is evidence. No wonder he won't release the names of his contributors.

    Democracy is not for sale.

    November 1, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Get over it you nut jobs !

    CNN I once thought of you as a reputable news org now !!!!!!!!! cheaper i watch FIX News !!!!!! CNN u guys should be ashamed of yourselves what does this ! story have to do with the American people let alone the Election is so dumb first you refused to air Obama's 30 minute informerical now this crap WOW ! what has this country come too!!!!!!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. JD

    Figures!!!! He takes real good care of his family right? Just like his other relative living in a slum in Kenya. How can I trust this man with our nation?

    This also reinforces the reason why we need better immigration enforcement. How is this illegal alien getting free housing with our taxpayer money?

    Long Island, NY

    November 1, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. KIK

    Why are we not talking about First dude.....Palin's husband wanting Alaska be separated from USA?.....please CNN don't be bulls or bias as you promised coz i like watching and reading your news............

    November 1, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Frank

    get over it ,,,move on,,,,, nothing will stick,,,im so sick n tired of hearing something new pop up towards obama,,,,,every week there's something diferent ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,redneck for obama here,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, GO GATORS

    November 1, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. informed voter

    I bet this was the idiotic,desperate bid from the republican party to find an October surprise. You found it...BOOHOO. He still gets my vote. He met his dad for a month in his life. Why is his aunt from his dad's side relevant? I have aunts who have immigrated. I don't go around asking their immigration status.

    November 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Ravi

    So who cares, Report some thing better. I think CNN is moving right. I will stop watching the TV.

    November 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Sean

    First of all, this should not be on the political ticker. I want to know who really is gonna change their vote because Obama's aunt is is an illegal.

    Secondly, for those saying that Obama must be a born citizen because he is running, well that is what is in dispute. He allegedly produced false birth certificates when applying. Thats why there is a lawsuit against him. If he is a born citizen, like you claim, then you have nothing to worry about.

    November 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. mike

    This aunt is harming every tax paying hard working american. as are all others who refuse to work for what they recieve. 1/4 of what I make is taken away by taxes and I am in by no means close to wealthy. how about you pay my share of her free stuff

    November 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. carment

    Next up – the McCain campaign digs up Obama's long-dead father and offers startling new information (fill in blanks here).

    McCain, desperate much?

    November 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. Kay

    While reading some of your questions I have these comments.

    Palin's medical records? We don't have Obama's either. We have one page saying his is healthy.

    McCains wife previous addiction to pain pills? Obama admitting to using Cocaine in his book.

    Security clearance? My husband was in the Army for 20 years with top security clearance. Obama's "friendship" with so many radicals would disqualify him. And with so many questionable friends do we want him to know all of our top secret militart and homeland security info?

    Discrepancy on Obama's birth certificate-The one submitted is not the correct format of an Hawaiian certicate of that year. They still have not produced a correct one.

    November 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. Mike in CA

    CNN you are dispicable, have sunk to the level of Fox. I consider this non story a great diservice to this country , you have lost me as a regular viewer.

    November 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Bea

    Those who are stating Obama is not a citizen and believe the farces being sugested by the opposing side show their ignorance. Do you honestly believe his citizenship has not been fully investigated?Research, do your own thinking, apply logic and stop following others blindly.

    Female Republican for Obama/Biden

    November 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. Chelsea

    Dear independent vet,

    what on GOD'S GREEN EARTH are you talking about????????Obama was born in Hawaii-i know it's kind of far away from the mainland...and in that tiny little mind of yours, the map of "the world" only stretches as far as the tip of Texas. But...I would like to tell you about this other crazy state that isn't directly attached to the contiguous United's called Alaska..and I heard that you can see RUSSIA from your house when you live there. Cool huh?

    November 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Rob

    Now Obama is saying he didn't know anything about his dear aunt Zeituni's status, but that "appropriate" laws should be followed (she's up for deportation)! Well, I guess he did say he was his brother's keeper, not his aunt's...

    November 1, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. C'mon folks

    I have no idea where some of my relatives are, outside of my immediate family.

    Half sister of his dead father. Obama can't be held accountable for this unless he helped her in breaking the law.

    If there was dirty pool going on, why wouldn't she just mail a check directly to his house?

    Obama has bigger fish to fry. WE have bigger fish to fry

    November 1, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. NIK


    November 1, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. JAY N.H.

    Where is the DNC????? We can no longer take the high road It is time to let all of the skeletons out of the closet for both Senator McCain and Sarah Palin, They are so hypocritcal for every charge they have leveled against Obama they are guilty of the same charges. CNN if you want to be fair and balanced why don't you report on these issues. If you don't you risk the people thinking you're no better than fixed news.

    November 1, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. drew the administrator

    What kind of issue is this??? It's importance is relevant only to those that consider running for president, where immigration issues may come up when determining the countrys policy, for which you are running. This has nothing to do with US politic, this is EVERY NATION IN THE WORLD POLITICS!!!

    BTW, what is Obama's view on immigration, both legal and in this case, illegal? And what about fo his familky? Hmmm, maybe if he don't say nufin, or if no investigation is done, maybe, just maybe it won't be no issue.

    Btw, he only be runnin for the presidency of the USA, do any of us think he going to anoint supreme court jusices? Dont Bork this woman, it aint her fault she live in slums in Kenya, she her in free food, medicare hopitals, thank God for the US imigrashun seestem!!

    November 1, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. RIF

    Nothing like the predictable GOP distractors. It's funny how the MSM falls for them every single time. What do you expcect from the MSM, you guys spent 3 days talking about lipstick on a pig.

    This story is a pure attenpt to smear Obama by Bush/McCain and their buddies at the AP.

    I'm sure there are many of us who may be related to someone who might be over here illegally. What does this really have to do with Obama? Should he try to dig up everyone that may be related to him and scheck their status?

    November 1, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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