January 26th, 2009
02:47 PM ET
8 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. Robin

    My comment is still awaiting moderation. Is it because I am Republican?

    My whole thing is why should she get special privilages? We have many people who want to stay here and can't. Why is she here illegally? Surely her nephew could have helped her 4 years ago. Even though he was only a Jr. Senator, he could have helped get a green card to stay in the U.S legally. Will she be living in the Blair House next?

    January 26, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. Just the Truth

    The funny thing is that the rules are plain and have applied to ALL denied asylum seekers. Now that Obama is President, the rules no longer apply. And I recall all the complaints about Bush breaking the law!

    She has no legal basis to remain. If anyone believes otherwise, you are either lying to yourself or covering your eyes and ears so as to not hear anything negative about Obama.

    Read the rules yourself. I posted the rule (8 CFR 1003.3 ) and the rule that if an untimely appeal is filed it is rejected. Hundreds of thousand of wannabe asylum seekers have been deported. What is the ONLY difference between them and Auntie? Her nephew is the President plain and simple.

    And what basis could someone who is a close relative of the most admired man in Kenya have for claiming asylum?

    The truth is no matter what Obama does, his followers will not hold it against him. Even if he engaged in incest with his daughters his followers would come up with something to excuse his behavior.

    January 26, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Angie in Pa

    Only because she is President Obamas Aunt Unbelivable the right sure has become Bitter sore losers!! leave the old lady alone

    January 26, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. barack obama is still just B.O.

    An apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    I'll bet Obama didn't even know about it too!

    So if you know something is illegal and you do nothing about it, does that wash all blame away?
    Sort of like harboring a criminal, which is punishable by law.

    January 26, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Michael B

    Wow, this President was all about fairness when he ran for President, didn't know his aunt was in the U.S., yet let her sit at his inauguration.

    What message does that send to all the refugees from Iraq, whose lives are challenged daily, who are following due process to get into this country?

    January 26, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. whoa there, Briana

    Briana at 4:31 said:

    Do any of you conservative losers have a job? I bet you are all a bunch of stay at home moms that wish you could do what Michelle Obama does.
    -------------------------------–

    Briana, just because you are a college student does not mean you are open-minded. I am a college graduate, Phi Beta Kappa member, 29-year-old, enthusiastic Obama supporter, STAY AT HOME MOM of two beautiful little boys.

    Why?

    Because I believe that being there for my children is the most important thing I can do right now, and because I am blessed to be financially able to do so.

    I respect Michelle Obama and if you work outside the home if/when you have children, I will respect your choice, too.

    Please respect mine.

    You have angered me more than any of these "conservative losers" who are bashing Obama.

    January 26, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. whoa there, Briana

    Briana at 4:31 said:

    Do any of you conservative losers have a job? I bet you are all a bunch of stay at home moms that wish you could do what Michelle Obama does.
    -------------------------------–

    Briana, just because you are a college student does not mean you are open-minded. I am a college graduate, Phi Beta Kappa member, 29-year-old, enthusiastic Obama supporter, STAY AT HOME MOM of two beautiful little boys.

    Why?

    Because I believe that being there for my children is the most important thing I can do right now, and because I am blessed to be financially able to do so.

    I respect Michelle Obama and if you work outside the home if/when you have children, I will respect your choice, too.

    Please respect mine.

    You have angered me more than any of these "conservative losers" who are bashing Obama.

    January 26, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Worried in MO

    He is President; not because I voted for him. I cried at the inauguration, and had a strong feeling of impending doom. I still cry. As far as allowing his auntie to come in, she should be with her family, but not illegally. She needs to follow the due process of law just like anyone else. Obama is changing laws and rules to satisfy his own wants. I pray for God's will to be done, and God did allow this guy to become President. God has turned his face from the United States as a whole because we are not following his will. Our country allows abortion, gay marriages, and most people are all about meeeeeeeeeeee!

    January 26, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. barack obama is still just B.O.

    Obama is beginning to make Bush look like a genius in only 1 week. He is miraculous!!!!!!

    January 26, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. No Hillary = No Obama

    I don't care if she stays here. I live in one of these so-called "sanctuary cities" that protect the illegals. Next door to me I have what I call Illegals, Inc. a network – no a swarm of illegals living in a house that is the best looking on the block, but hasn't had it's tax base raised becaue the city is being duped. There are people in and out all the time. You don't know if they are fugitives or just illegals. They need to do away with sancutary and enforce the laws. In my experience the illegals are the most self-centered group going – they could care less about anything expect their own needs.

    January 26, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. globalgroove

    Steve(the real one)...glad to finally hear one of you admit you're a hater!!

    January 26, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. davee

    Her asylum request was denied –she was ordered deported. She should have been GONE! Let her apply for residency and immigrate legally like my grandparents did along with all the others who never played the system. Send her back to Kenya!!
    What part of ILLEGAL is so hard to understand?? She and all the others are not guest workers, not undocumented labor. THEY ARE CRIMINALS violating the law!
    As far as President Obama goes, he is president- get over it. But should'nt he be held to a higher standard? perception is everything, and this seems to be favoritism

    January 26, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. jjr

    "Briana the college student January 26th, 2009 4:31 pm ET

    Do any of you conservative losers have a job? I bet you are all a bunch of stay at home moms that wish you could do what Michelle Obama does."

    To Briana the College Student–

    Your comment doesn't even pertain to the article. Also, isn't Michelle Obama basically a stay at home mother now, nothing wrong with being at home. Yes, I am home full time and when my kids go to bed I then work part time from home using my civil engineering degree.

    January 26, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. C U

    And to think, If BO had run for President in his "Father Land" the half- aunt would have been a senior member of his party holding some sort of position within his government. She could have been the "Auntie Immigration and Housing guru". Opps I hope I didn't give him any ideas!

    January 26, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. Meh

    Baloney. Sorry, but I don't hear you complaining about the millions of other illegals.

    And Jenny, Geithner DID pay his taxes. Please do your research.

    globalgroove January 26th, 2009 3:42 pm ET
    The haters only want her out because she is President Obama's aunt. If it were anyone else they wouldn't care
    ———————————————-
    Wrong! The "haters" want her out if she is here illegally! She was asked to leave 4 years ago! Ridiculous arguement!

    January 26, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. Steve (the real one)

    Gisele January 26th, 2009 4:56 pm ET
    She might have broken the law, but it's not like she is endangering publice safety or anything.
    ------------–
    gisele,
    Either we have laws or we don't . Consider this example. Suppose somebody broke into your house after making sure no one was home. "He might have broken the law, but it's not like he is endangering publice safety or anythingn" (your words, I just changed "she" into "he" ). Based upon your arguement, the robber is good to go, right?

    January 26, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. tk in IL

    Proving once again what we've known all along........

    January 26, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. Steve (the real one)

    globalgroove January 26th, 2009 5:15 pm ET
    Steve(the real one)…glad to finally hear one of you admit you're a hater
    ------------------
    Strike two! If you notice hater is in quotes, which indicates that word is someone elses not mine! My point was to point out the flaw in your aurguement. You do however, have one strike to go! Go for it!

    January 26, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Meh

    Terry> I'm sorry, did you not see the birth certificate that everyone else has seen? You conspiracy therorists are ridiculous.

    January 26, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. EC

    How many of Bin Laden's family members were allowed to stay in the United States by Bush?

    Shut the hell up, this is nothing but BS reporting at its worst!!!!

    We have MORE important things to worry about than this elderly woman being allowed to stay in the US. Are you kidding me?

    January 26, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. Kiffen Roor.

    Wow what a fine example of the government not following laws but expecting the citezens to follow all laws. Wake up people, the obama voters have sold this country out to something far worse than energy corperations. They are cowards and full belivers in the illusion of saftey.

    Someone get the bat signal and put a Newt on that thing.

    January 26, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. funny

    Hey Pam,
    If you are born in another country, but your parent is a "Natural Born" citizen, yes that makes you a citizen, but you cannot run for president because you were not born on US territory. I speak from experience, I think you need to brush up on immigration laws....

    January 26, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. w.l. jones

    Who were standing at the gates when every body else came in? Said enough.

    January 26, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Darko

    Don't they mean:

    Obama's aunt remains in US "Illegally" for now???

    January 26, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Matt

    I noticed how the Obama paid bloggers all went after Reality Check because they have no ground to stand on with the issue at hand which is Obama's Aunt is still here illegally and has recieved special treatment. If you don't think she recieved special treatment please explain the attendance at the swearing in and the inaugural ball? If Barack claims to not know where his Aunt is or was then explain further how she recieved invites to these events.

    Deport her illegal behind out of this country. I don't care how old she is, I don't care who's Aunt she is.

    January 26, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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