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. Jack in DC

    This is really sad.
    Is this somehow supposed to derail Obama's path to the presidency?
    If that's the case then John Mccain should also be prosecuted for his wife stealing controlled substances from an Opharnage. Pathetic!!!!

    November 1, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. Pro Obama VA Women

    Why is John McCain being treated as a Navy Seal when we discuss his POW experience? He was captured so why do we feel his foreign affairs experience would be so great? I don't want to be lead by a prisoner of war I want to be lead by a Navy Seal or person who was not captured.

    This is the story I want to hear about not look for some ridiculous "November" surprise.

    Obama/Biden 08

    November 1, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. Janie

    Personally, I'm much more interested in seeing the press revisit Cindy McCain's drug addiction, her investigation by the DEA, and her illegal use of her employee's names to obtain falsified prescriptions to support her painkiller habit.

    November 1, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  4. worldview

    what is wrong with you americans???Obamas mother was from Kansas, American born and bred, therefore he is american!!!he was born in Hawaii, i belive an american state, or did something change?We the world are watching how you all are questioning the most intelligent man to come to american politics in a long time, and i have to say we are pretty disgusted!!!And Mr. Schwarznegger is Austrian, he still happens to me the governor of California...weirdos!!!if Obama doesn´t win, then you have lost all respect, as your judgment will then seem to be very bad, just liek your dominating world views!!Obama the American the world loves!!about time....

    November 1, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. M from Texas

    Will be interesting to see what Obama does about it if anything. He is sounding like all the candidates at this point. Taking the most popular responses to issues and sounding like a merger between Clinton and McCain. We are doomed if Obama gets in!!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  6. Texas Teacher

    John: "Maybe we should still investigate Obama's true place of birth."

    Dear John, this is a mute issue! Haven't you done your homework?

    It does not matter where you are born! If one of your parents is an American Citizen, you are born and American Citizen. You can even choose to have dual citizenship.

    I knew this because my daughter in law was born in Germany of American Parents. She can have dual citizenship in Germany should she choose to do so. But she is an American Citizen At birth WHEREVER she IS Born! If you can't think of any other argument, you should not waste the space here with your nonsense.

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. maggie

    So, is this the "October Surprise?" A pathetic attempt on the part of the Republicans.

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. joyce

    For those who swear that Obama is not a native born citizen:

    Riddle me this...do you think that when he announced his candidancy 2 two years that he didn't have to show proof of natural citizenship? I think not!!! In fact, since this is a constitutional requirement, Obama (along with the other candidates) had to prove this burden, first. So please quit saying that, you are only showing your lack of intelligence! Also, what does this has to do with Obama? He has absolutely NO control of his aunt's actions!!! Thank God (yes I'm a Christian, something that you righties fail to realize about 90% Democrats) that I already voted!!!

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. bill pike

    mccain went to the best schools, family got him into naval acadaemy, while obama is one of us-he got where he is the hard way–he earned it. this report is a stupid as mcain's car wreck in 1918 before they had roads. PLEASE LETS STAY ON TRACK--THE REPUBLICANS HAVE SOLD US OUT-LOOKS AT THE ECONOMY STUPID WHEN YOU LET BANKERS POLICE BANKERS. the only thing going for mcshame now is their JOE INFLUENCE--JOE McCARTHY.

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  10. gwen

    Independent VET:
    Obama IS a citizen of the U.S. Hawaii is one of our states and was one when he was born. GO BACK TO SCHOOL and quit listening to Rush!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  11. Stacy, VA

    Who cares? At least she wants to live in this country unlike someone's husband who is a member of an organization who wants to secede from the United States.

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  12. Nina

    This is important how to the election? People who talk about Obama and his family in Africa have no idea about the African culture . Many think hat giving money to some poor people in African who live with less that a $1.00 a day is doing a good deed. You must not forget that African People are very Proud People. Before accusing Obama of not helping his aunt or as Fox news said his half brother , wait for the facts and learn the culture and then you can decide. His aunt is not the only person leaving here illegaly and the media in being fair and balanace should wait for the facts. Come on this is not even a story to treport on.

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  13. wally

    A baby born by an American citizen is an American. His mother was born and raised in Kansas not OZ. Get over it.

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  14. Listen Up...

    Anything to not talk about the issues.

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  15. Natalie

    Independent Vet:

    Please do a little civic homework. It is illegal for anyone to run for the presidency of the United States if they are not a natural-born citizen! Do you honestly believe that there is some giant conspiracy that has allowed Obama to get this far while breaking a fundamental rule of the process. Give me a break.

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  16. Tim

    She lives in a slum in Boston, His half-brother lives in a hut in Kenya. Who is Obama? Why won't he help his family??????????

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  17. mesuki

    CNN,you guys should be ashamed of yourselves.Why don't you guys talk about important things like Palin not turning over her health records! Leave the old lady alone,she's probably more patriotic then those goons at MCCain's rallies.

    November 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. Joyce Becker

    She is an aunt he hardly knows, leave her alone. Of course he would want to support her nephew she also hardly knows, so what, it does't matter in the scheme of things.

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08–'012

    November 1, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  19. badger

    and this suprises who????

    November 1, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  20. Pete

    . . . More of Sarah Palin's witch hunting?

    November 1, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  21. Debbie Cleary

    Slow news day CNN? Disgusting that this is located under "Politics".

    November 1, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  22. lezah2

    Could Deval Patrick be involved in providing public housing to a person he knows is a illegal alien? His aunt told the press a few days ago that the Obama campaign had told her she could speak about him until after Nov 4. Imagine that.

    November 1, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  23. Frank

    Now I know why the gas prices are so high people are loosing their homes and jobs are going overseas. Let's blame the aunt!!!!
    Republicans continue to amaze

    November 1, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  24. Bob the Plumber

    Its time to clean the toilet bowl November 4th. I have lived in the red state of Kentucky for a while now and would love to have the privilage of being the first to flush the Republicans down the drain once and for all!!! GO Obama/Biden

    November 1, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. K - FLORIDA

    HMMM, AND SO WERE THE EARLY COLONIST....JUST ASK THE NATIVE INDIANS.

    BASICALLY, WHO CARES – SHE'S SEEKING THE AMERICAN DREAM LIKE MANY OTHER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.

    HER NEPHEW SERVING IN THE FIRST POSITION CAN'T HURT EITHER.

    November 1, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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