May 17th, 2010
01:42 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama's aunt can stay in U.S.

President Obama has stayed out of the immigration case involving his aunt, the White House has said.
President Obama has stayed out of the immigration case involving his aunt, the White House has said.

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's Kenyan aunt can stay in the United States, a U.S. immigration judge has ruled, ending a more than six-year legal battle over her status.

Judge Leonard Shapiro made the decision Friday, court officials told CNN.

Two government sources confirmed Monday that the ruling will give legal status to Zeituni Onyango, 57, allowing her to remain in the country.

Onyango's attorneys held an afternoon news conference on the matter in Ohio.

Onyango, who is the half-sister of the president's late father, applied for political asylum in 2002 due to violence in her native Kenya. She was a legal resident of the United States at the time and had received a Social Security card a year earlier.

Onyango's asylum request was turned down in 2004. She appealed the rejection of her request twice, but was denied each time and ordered to leave the country. Onyango remained in the country illegally until April of 2009, when Judge Shapiro gave her permission to stay in the United States while he considered her case.

In February, Onyango arrived at an immigration court in a wheelchair and testified before the judge for more than two hours, her representative, Amy Cohn, told CNN at the time. Two doctors, including her personal physician, also testified on her behalf. Onyango's medical condition was part of her legal defense against expulsion.

White House officials said during the appeals that Obama was staying out of the matter.

"The president believes that the case should run its ordinary course," the officials said.

Onyango's immigration status came to light in the final days of the 2008 presidential race.

Updated: 3:20 p.m.


Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Scott Jeffery

    I could not be more disgusted with our goverment and justice system, as I am at this moment. This woman, clearly due to her contacts, is allowed to stay in this country after blatantly ignoring a deportation order years ago?

    My 5 year old son, was de-facto deported 2 years ago, by the US COnsulate in Ciudad Juarez. He was not allowed to return back to our home in the US but was forced to live in a country (Mexico) where he had never lived and where he did not speak the language. We have been living a nightmare for the past two years, trying to wrangle with the State department over this. Again, my son was 3 when this happened. We now live in two countries, while the state department plays with our lives.

    My son did not get a hearing.

    I wonder if the President could look my little boy in the eye and tell him that there is one set of rules for most of us, and another for those who are related to the President.

    May 17, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. zima

    well duh!! he got to stay and be president. maybe she will run next time. we still have no proof where the doofus was borni

    May 17, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. Erin

    Surprise, surprise!

    May 17, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Donna

    I'm "sure" her relation to Obama had nothing to do with the outcome of this. Whatever.

    Can't wait till 2012, let's get rid of this group of clowns running the country.

    May 17, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Craig Zeichner

    Perhaps her nephew could join her?

    May 17, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. Puffinmoose

    LOL...who didn't see this coming.

    May 17, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
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