February 4th, 2010
12:35 PM ET
4 years ago

Judge will decide whether Obama's aunt can stay in U.S.

President Obama's aunt will face a federal immigration judge Thursday.
President Obama's aunt will face a federal immigration judge Thursday.

Boston, Massachusetts (CNN) – A federal immigration judge will decide Thursday whether President Barack Obama's aunt, who has been in the United States illegally for years, will be allowed to stay.

Zeituni Onyango, 57, is the half-sister of the president's late father.

She arrived at the court here in a wheelchair and testified before Judge Leonard Shapiro for two and a half hours about her asylum request, her representative Amy Cohn told CNN.

Two doctors, including her personal physician, are also testifying on her behalf. Onyango's medical condition is part of her legal defense against expulsion.

She applied for political asylum in 2002, citing violence in her native Kenya.

Onyango was a legal resident of the United States at the time and had received a Social Security card a year earlier.

But her asylum request was turned down in 2004. She appealed and was ordered to leave, but has lived in the United States illegally since then.

Her immigration status came to light in the final days of the 2008 Presidential race.

Obama has not weighed in on the case, with the White House saying "the president believes that the case should run its ordinary course."

–CNN's Julian Cummings in Boston contributed to this report.


Filed under: Immigration • President Obama
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. jj

    Politics.
    Karl Rove politics!

    February 4, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. Kat

    Kick her out, She's been mooching off the taxpayers too long now.

    February 4, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. Kevin in Ohio

    This would not be a problem if she had only followed proper immigration laws when she arrived. Why can't potential immigrants do this? They would be welcomed with open arms.

    February 4, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Steve in Ct

    If she were my aunt or your aunt would the results be the same?

    February 4, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  5. Conservative Voice

    Why are we hesitating to send this criminal back...maybe because she is related to OBama? She should be deported and right NOW.

    February 4, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. Ready for 2012

    I hope this is a fair hearing and the judge isn't swayed by the fact that she is the presendent's aunt. It seems pretty cut and dry to me. She was denied asylum and told to leave. So she should leave.

    February 4, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. Stop taking my money Owhiner

    Send her back and make her pay my tax dollars for supporting this criminal. 11% unemployment and we are paying for this waste of space.

    February 4, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Joe in NJ

    Deport her. Don't give her any preferential treatment because of who she is. If she really has some sort of physical ailment and is here illegally, she has already been a burden on the taxpayers.

    February 4, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. John

    Does anyone really see this ending with the PRESIDENT'S aunt NOT staying in the United States? Please...

    February 4, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. nadine

    Illegally, yeah she has to go. And so does the other 12 million here illegally. Be fair!

    February 4, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Doraine Gordon

    This lady is a sick elderly senior citizen. She is not hurting anything by staying in America. We have so many millions of illegals here that one more surely isn't going to hurt anything. Instead of wasting so much time and money on this lady why don't you prosecute the criminals that are here illegally? They commit crimes, you send them home and they sneak right back in again. So go after the real culprits and leave this lady be!!

    February 4, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. Mark

    She is here illegally and should be deported today! Why should the taxpayers be paying for her? She lives in HUD housing, gets food stamps and probably a welfare check.......send her BACK we can't afford to borrow from China to pay for Onyango!

    February 4, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Right Leaning Independent

    Is there anyone out there that does not know what the decision will be?

    February 4, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. all the news that's fit to omit

    Throw her OUT, she is ILLEGAL, or is that too hard to understand?

    There is one VETERAN out there who is out in the street while this ILLEGAL never worked a day in this country person is getting FREE ROOM and BOARD instead.

    Does that make sense to you Rahm retards?

    It probably does.

    February 4, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Uh something tells me the judge will decide "yes".............that is if he doesn't want his legs broken Chicago style.

    February 4, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    President Obama doesn't know this woman anymore than he knew his own father. The case should run its ordinary course as the President stated as do all others who have been found to be here illegally. We all probably have family members here illegally.

    February 4, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Wisconsonite

    Oh I can hardly wait for the Irrational Haters of All Things Obama to start spewing forth.

    February 4, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Mike

    Can we boot uhbama out of the country instead?

    February 4, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. Bob in Pa

    Hmm, would you want to be the Judge that threw the Presidents aunt out of the country ?

    February 4, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. linda

    Why is this illegal – law breaker – regardless of who she is related to receiving PUBLIC HOUSING at taxpayer expense?

    WHY?

    She is breaking the law, was to be deported, and here she is
    raping US taxpayers.

    Kick her out – she is a lawbreaker

    February 4, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. ted

    Whether she is the president's aunt or anyone's aunt, she should be shown respect and allowed to get her citizenship if she has not been a criminal or otherwise worked against our values.

    February 4, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Angus McDugan

    I sure she will be able to stay due to being part of Obama's "friends and family" plan.

    SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS FOR OBAMA'S BEST BUDS!!!!!!

    February 4, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Greg, MN

    I say make a trade. Let her stay if her nephew just shows us his birth certificate. I know, I know, but it would shut everyone up if it was shown.

    February 4, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. dennis

    what a waste of time, of course she will get to stay, what's his name will see to that

    February 4, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Poor Zeituni, what a world of contrasts!!!!!!!!!

    February 4, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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