February 4th, 2010
12:35 PM ET
5 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. Sue

    Just like every other illegal in our country--she needs to be deported.

    Based on numerous national polls-–the majority in the country do NOT want amnesty or any other rewards/accommodations for illegals.

    We cannot take in the world.......There are millions of people throughout the world who are trying to come into our country through the proper, legal process. Illegals should not get to jump ahead in the line.

    The illegals can go back to their own countries---apply and wait in line for legal entry--just like the millions of other people throughout the world.

    Our immigration laws were created in order to make sure that US citizens/workers were never hurt by immigration into our country.

    These laws should be followed and enforced.

    February 4, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Jane/Seattle

    Well of the values, I choose Compassion! No matter what the true facts are regarding this matter, we won't know the deal.

    Sure wish the same Compassion could be extended to other Nations being attacked by this American Empire – the one that is voluntarily decaying from the inside! Sure wish folks could see the Earth without borders to set out to peacefully correct our past and current abuses. It is mankind that makes divisions, borders, enemies, poverty and all conditions we find. It is only mankind that can correct this collective Action to see another Result. Peace

    February 4, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Dar

    Any bets on this? I bet she gets to stay.
    Odumbo didnt know about her being here illegally? Just another ghoast popping out of Odumbo's closet.
    Wonder who's paying her doctor and laywer bill's?
    Aw, it doesnt matter does it, it's Odumbo's family, IM sure she is okay.
    To bad her nephew isn't.

    2010/2012 REAL Change is coming

    February 4, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. onyango, nairobi, kenya

    zaituni pliz come home. there is good hospitals in nairobi.

    February 4, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. normajean

    If a relative of the President can't stay in theCountry, then it's time we round up an awful lot of people and lead them to our borders and shove them across. Then get a large boat and send the rest of them on their way. Good grief people. Get some sense of logic before we all go down the tubes from this idiocy that has taken over every ounce of logic that we ever had, The health plan is being killed by the Repubs even though their own people need help. The financial state of the nation is in dire straits for every one but the "Fat Cats". Jobs are impossible to find for voters of BOTH partys ..YOU WHO DONT CARE, have you checked your interest rates,?is your mortgage still in good shape?Are you finding extra charges on your meds?Is your family healthy at the moment? is your company downsizing?IT CAN
    HAPPEN TO YOU TOO.

    February 4, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. paulie_nj

    If her asylum request was turned down in 2004 then what is she still doing here? Should have put her on a boat immediately and sent the bill to Kenya.

    February 4, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. FL

    She should have put out of the county a long time ago.

    February 4, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Tim

    Do you want to make a bet on who will decide? Obama's already made the decision.

    February 4, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Obama = WORST president EVER

    Here's a deal: Auntie can stay here only if Kenya takes Obama.

    February 4, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. Greg Pottstown PA

    She is a criminal. She was ordered by a judge to leave the country and she did not. That ruling should stand and if she will not leave on her own then she should be incarcerated and deported in accordance with the law. The fact that she is related to Obama should not have any affect on this case at all.

    If you are hear illegally then you are a criminal. Hence the term " illegal".

    February 4, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. WILLARD BULLOCK

    No his aunt stay in the untied state why she hiding place in ohid but why obam did not know about his aunt

    February 4, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Texas Jack

    If you let her stay then I guess Obama will be next with all the illegals. Go with it Democrats make sure you gain some more illegal votes. Your party should be banned from existence. I was a Democrat for fifty years I am ashamed to say. But no more can I be fooled. This party is now run by gangsters and the ACLU along with other unmentionable organizations. They all have to do with the downfall of America.

    February 4, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. obama the liar

    it will only take one phone call.

    February 4, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. WeThePeopleofVirginia

    Who's paying the tab for each element of her stay and why does CNN insist on showing a photo of the President if he's not weighed in on the case?

    February 4, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. Jeff

    WOW, I wonder if he has to brief the WH before he makes his decision.

    February 4, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. A. Goodwin

    Obama is doing the right thing to not get involved. Plus – not like he actually know's this part of his family!

    February 4, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Buck Wheat

    SEND HER BACK NOW!

    February 4, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. Ben in Texas

    Oh, watch the Repugnants spin this, no matter what the outcome. If she is deported, they will say, "See, Obama is not an American!" If she is allowed to stay, they will say, "Obama pulled rank to keep her here."

    This is a story that has absolutely nothing to do with President Obama's administration or the running of the country. It is comparable to the Bush twins getting arrested for drinking underage in Austin. It only provides a way for Repugnants to take pot-shots at him personally. All families have personal problems.

    February 4, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Hrmmmm

    Some people are more equal under the law than others.

    February 4, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. sara

    Judge will decide......who else would, CNN. This is a Step-sister of a father he did not know..... pretty positive he doens't know her......so what's your point?

    February 4, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Now taking bets....odds, anyone?

    February 4, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    Medical condition? Every country on earth has sick people. That does not give them a RIGHT to illegally come and stay in the US and suck on our health care system at taxpayer expense!!

    She should try going to Cuba, where the libs think has the world's greatest health care, using this excuse and see where that gets her...

    February 4, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Martie

    Of course she'll be allowed to stay .... along with all the other illegals that come, what's one more? And why isn't Obama looking after her if he's such a great guy folks??? Something stinks about that.

    February 4, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Old Farmboy

    I'm sure the Vegas odds are in her favor. But if she does, you can bet the floodgates will open with more illegals wanting to stay here. Immigration is immigration, period! In 2004 the courts ordered her to leave and she took it on her own to stay. If the courts decide she can stay, does that mean it's okay to say "{INSERT EXPELATIVE} you" to the United States judicial system if your the presidents half-aunt?

    February 4, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. T'SAH from Virginia

    And let the HATE begin. Watch what many who blog here will say!!!

    February 4, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
1 2 3