January 26th, 2009
02:47 PM ET
3 months ago

President Obama's aunt remains in US legally for now

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama's Kenyan aunt is in the United States legally, at least for the time being, CNN has learned.

Just days before the November election it was reported that Zeituni Onyango, the half-sister of Mr. Obama's late father, was living in Boston despite a deportation order issued four years earlier when her asylum request was denied.

A spokesman for the Executive Office of Immigration Review tells CNN, however, that a motion to reopen Onyango's case was granted on December 17th, and on December 30th a stay was placed on the order to remove her. According to the spokesman, she is scheduled to have a new hearing in front of a Boston immigration court on April 1.

"While she is in proceedings she can stay in the country," says Margaret Wong, the attorney representing Onyango. Wong said her client had not received any special treatment in the immigration system. But being the President's aunt has its perks. Wong says that Onyango had tickets to attend her nephew's swearing in last week, and attended at least one inaugural ball.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. tom

    MORE liberal apologists. Do as we SAY...NOT as we DO.

    Laws are not for the "elitiists".

    January 26, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Helene

    Reality check : You also must believe in ghosts, the LochNess monster and other fairy tales. Grow up ! Our President was born in Hawai, which happens to be ... part of the United States ! Surprise !

    January 26, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. PeterMac

    Asylum? From Kenya? If she is entitled to asylum in this country from Kenya then EVERYONE in Africa should be so entitled. Kenya is one of the more stable countries on that poverty stricken continent. That is ridiculous. Let her stay if they want but don't qualify it as asylum or the word ceases to have any meaning.

    January 26, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. Jennifer

    For those of you who really are ignorant of the law:

    Her case was CLOSED 4 years ago. She was ordered out of the country. Like so many others, she chose to break the law and remain here.

    There were no "proceedings" in the four years she was here illegally. The proceedings opened again in December – and I think we all know why they were reopened. Let's face it, it has nothing to do with the fact of this case, other than the glaring fact that she's related to the President.

    Of course, all presidents do this type of BS – Obama's hardly alone in bending rules and laws to suit him. Disappointing? Yes. Unexpected? No.

    January 26, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. Just the Truth

    Only a judge's decision can be appealed to the Executive Office of Immigration Review. And if you read the regulations pertaining to such appeals (8 CFR 1003.38) you will clearly see that such an appeal MUST be filed within 30 days of the judge's decision.

    Auntie has been here over FOUR YEARS since the judge ruled.

    But what is a little rule breaking among family and friends?

    If you know the facts you know that Auntie is getting special treatment because of her relationship to President Obama!

    January 26, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. terry

    whats good for the goose is good for the gander

    January 26, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. Greg

    It helps to have friends in high places.

    January 26, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. R in Maine

    The previous administration would not grant asylum because she was black and poor and a woman. That Bush's version of three strikes. And a lot of the complaints here are the same.

    January 26, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. President Barack Obama

    CNN why is this in the ticker? Let the woman be... There are a ton of people you can kick out of America...A few are in these blogs.

    January 26, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Virginia

    It isn't like she was just given the order to leave. It is a FOUR YEAR OLD order, and should have come up before now. How convenient for her–she was here for the inauguration of her nephew and got to attend a ball-who paid for that??? If she was allowed to stay four years longer than she should have, and on our dime most likely, then others should be allowed to stay too. What's sauce for the goose......

    January 26, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Okay. Can the public be enlightened as to what criteria will she meet to allow her to stay legally when the media follows her case. Or will she receive presidential pardon as one of the "perks"?

    January 26, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Worried in MO

    Well, I know all you folks out there who voted this guy into office because he is the same color as you are would say it is ok to break the law, and let an illegal immigrant off the hook. Just wait and see, this country is in for a big disappointment when reality checks in.

    January 26, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Virginia

    It isn't like she just found out about this. The order is FOUR YEARS OLD and she should have been gone. How convenient for her that she got to go to the inauguration of her nephew and even attend a ball. Who paid for that????? If she can stay so should others get to. What's sauce for the goose.....

    January 26, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Laura, Boston

    I knew President Obama's aunt would go to the front of the line. Let's see we have President's allowing family members to break immigration laws. Secretary of the Treasury who doesn't pay back due taxes, sons of VP who leave for IRAQ and lo and behold are transferred (temporarily of course) to the Pentagon. Pentagon staff member who was a former lobbyist (we will waive our brand new rules for him)!

    Is this the Change we are to believe in? If so, its going to be a long 4 or 8 years.

    January 26, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Laura, Boston

    I knew President Obama's aunt would go to the front of the line. Let's see we have President's allowing family members to break immigration laws. Secretary of the Treasury who doesn't pay back due taxes, sons of VP who leave for IRAQ and lo and behold are transferred (temporarily of course) to the Pentagon. Pentagon staff member who was a former lobbyist (we will waive our brand new rules for him)!

    Is this the Change we are to believe in? If so, its going to be a long 4 or 8 years.

    CNN please post my comments!

    January 26, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Straight Talk

    Let's clean up the place – how about a little CHANGE to the good 'ol boy networking. We should all be equal. If you don't belong – then get out no matter who you are or who you are related to.

    Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong. No gray areas here.

    January 26, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Just the Truth

    (B) Untimely appeal—(1) Rejection without refund of filing fee. An appeal which is not filed within the time allowed must be rejected as improperly filed. In such a case, any filing fee the Service has accepted will not be refunded.

    January 26, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. not a little sad, actually quite happy

    @Obama the elite January 26th, 2009 3:53 pm ET

    It just goes to show the the law is only applicable depending on who you are. Could you imagine if this had been Bush or McCain's relative.

    If it were their relatives, they would have been granted citizenship and would not have been facing any legal conundrum like this.

    January 26, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Sue

    I doubt he even knew this woman was in the country until the media found her-he is the HALF-sister of his father, whom he barely knew. How many of you have relatives you barely even met, and have no idea where they live? She didn't ask to be put in the spotlight, and she'd like to stay here-so would a lot of people moving through the system. Leave it alone.

    January 26, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. not a little sad, actually quite happy

    @Obama the elite January 26th, 2009 3:53 pm ET

    It just goes to show the the law is only applicable depending on who you are. Could you imagine if this had been Bush or McCain's relative.

    If it were their relatives, they would have been granted citizenship and would not have been facing any legal conundrum like this.

    January 26, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Allen

    No special treatment?

    OH PLEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAASE!!

    January 26, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Proud American

    greg January 26th, 2009 3:43 pm ET

    wowowowowowowowowowowoowwoowowwowoowwowowowowowowoowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwoooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww,,, i love wow,,, wow,, can my mama come now
    ________________________________________________-
    Evn the country your mother was born in don't want her why should we accept her? Republicans are some of the most dumb humans that I've ever met. One of the worst economies in the world, by the way they caused and their out trying to destory some elderly old lady.

    January 26, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. mayah

    How can you love me, whom you have not seen?

    January 26, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Outspoken

    It'll take B.O. a little longer to get virtual amnesty for the other 10-20 million parasites.

    January 26, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Diane, TN

    Kick the foreign Olympian athletes out. They use America to get an unfair advantage during the Olympics. Let them train in their own countries. Stop letting them lay around America all day.

    Keep Barack's aunt here, she's old. Leave her alone.

    January 26, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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