May 17th, 2010
01:42 PM ET
8 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. rachel

    Did anyone think there would be a different outcome?

    May 17, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Gives you an idea how hard it is to get an illegal alien out of the country. She wants her benefits, which she never paid for. But not to worry, me and millions of other hard working taxpayers are having our money stolen by her nephews administration so that she and others like her will vote for libertards.

    May 17, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Wow – one Kenyan mixed in with all the asylum Chinese, Indian H1b visa holders, illegal aliens, etc.

    Kick the old woman out - she's related to a half-white president that old white southern prejudce dictates against (sarcasm here).

    May 17, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. AEK

    Amazing...this post has been up for what, almost an hour now, and CNN hasn't provided us with a reaction from Sarah Palin yet?

    May 17, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Liberalism is a mental disorder

    "White House officials said during the appeals that Obama was staying out of the matter" – yeaahhh sure he did.

    BHO wants to help poor people and is generous with YOUR TAX money instead of actually being generous with his own millions he made the last couple of charitable of him....hypocrite!

    May 17, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Sgt. USMC

    I see this blog turning very ugly very quickly.

    Go ahead Obama-haters, let's hear your insensitive remarks about this poor woman who is fighting for her life like anyone of you would... hate her just because she's the President's aunt! A President that in your eyes, can not and will not do anything right.

    There's hate in the air, I can smell it.

    May 17, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. T'SAH from Virginia

    AND SHE SHOULD BE ABLE TO STAY!!!! Oh boy, but watch out for the HATERS!!!! Also the immigrants in AZ and anywhere else should stay if they've been here almost their entire LIFE!!!

    May 17, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Artie

    Well did anyone expect a different result in this politically correct country? With the anointed one at the helm it was a nobrainer!

    May 17, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Johnny DC

    She's been here illegally, consuming public resources and contributing nothing. She may well have also been driving around without a license.

    So we're supposed to be thankful that she hasn't committed a serious crime or traffic accident, and reward her recklessness with citizenship.

    Great precedent we're setting here.

    May 17, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. gt

    yea right ,, and we are to believe this ... come on... americans are not that stupid....

    May 17, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Tea Klux Klan bigots and birthers start to whine in 3, 2, 1....

    May 17, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Big George in Big D

    Duh! Of course she was allowed to stay!

    May 17, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. jay baum

    Oh that's right Obama is staying out of it ! Wink, wink. But then again she is another illegal alien/ future Democrat vote. What a joke. What the heck give her free American paid for health care also !

    May 17, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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

    You can stop holding your collective breath GOP. Did youreally think he was going to give you that freebie?!

    How's that search for his mistress working out for ya?!!!!


    May 17, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. David

    Her nephew is the POTUS. Was there any doubt how this was going to play out? Nothing to see here....

    May 17, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. Bruce

    "White House officials said during the appeals that Obama was staying out of the matter."
    Oh give me a break. If it wasn't for her being related to Obozo, this wouldn't even be news. She was here illegally and should have been deported, plain and simple. And Obozo had NOTHING to do with this right? Yeah right. Like I believe THAT one.

    May 17, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    Proving once again that politicians and their "families" are above the law. No big surprise here. Move along now... nothing to see here... it's all over, folks... please keep moving...

    May 17, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. valwayne

    What an incredible surprise? Honestly though I'm ok with this! Its obviuosly completely undeserved and unmerrited. Yes there is some violence in Keyna, but if that is good enough that would mean that every Kenyan in the world would qualify. For that matter there's lots of violence in Mexico right now...and Iraq, and Afghanistan. Do all those people qualify for asylum. However, as an American I would be embarrassed if the Aunt of the President of the U.S. was deported. However, is she still living in Public Housing? It would be nice if Obama would help take care of his own family so the taxpayers didn't have to do it. Especially the ones who aren't even in the country legally!

    May 17, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. SocialismBad

    Sooooo.... She was turned down in 2004 and then her appeal was rejected TWICE and then she stayed ILLEGALLY and now suddenly she can stay. Hmmmm.....what has changed in those 6 years??? Give me a flippin' break! The smell of Obama is all over this.

    It is clear this administration thinks our immigration laws are just a suggestion to be disregarded when the whim strikes. To say they want OPEN BORDERS is an understatement. They want open borders and NO LAW ENFORCEMENT.

    May 17, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. Stacie

    Unless you want to be responsible for the actions of all of your extended family, especially family you aren't close to, do not use this as a way to attack the president. Jeb Bush's kid's drug arrest shouldn't be a reflection of George W Bush so this woman's attempt to gain asylum isn't a reflection of Barack Obama.

    May 17, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. Ken in NC

    I'm sure it will not be long before the ditoheads wil be claiming that President Obama did this somehow on the sly to keep his aunt here. It seems he is blamed for everything else people do not like so it stands to reason he will be blamed for this.

    I wonder if people will blame him for going to the bath room?

    May 17, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. Mike

    Obama stayed out of it? Yeah, right.

    May 17, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Mountaineer

    She has a right to request for political asylum. We allow many others into this country for this reason and she's just trying to avoid the killing fields in Kenya!

    May 17, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. !rooster

    May God bless her. I am glad for her.

    May 17, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This woman is now 58 yrs old, disabled and as harmless as a baby. Have we become so "heartless" until we don't care about anyone but ourselves, the judge did the right thing within the law.

    May 17, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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