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. James

    Here we go again with another controversy

    May 17, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. Ellen Cox

    Like Aunt, like Nephew, like Dem Party...no big suprise here.....

    May 17, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. O L Houck

    As they say "the fix was in"

    May 17, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. laurie Velez

    I am very happy she will be able to stay. My fear was that they would punish the lady because they use any issue to attack our President or anyone attached to him.

    May 17, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. laurie Velez

    I am very happy she will be able to stay. My fear was that they would punish the lady because they use any issue to attack our President or anyone attached to him.

    May 17, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. paul

    So then by this logic ANYONE in Kenya should be able to request and be granted asylum in the USA... This is insanity.....

    May 17, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Two previous appeals, and two denials. Looks like she finally found the "right" judge, willing to excuse the fact that she's been committing an ongoing felony for the past six years by remaining here.

    May 17, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. ron

    Obama stayed out like he did in GM and the rest a dam liar

    May 17, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. No Bama

    Another illegal slips in, under the watch of an illegal President. My country is beginning to sicken me.

    May 17, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Lawrence

    This comes as no surpise as other matters hadn't. This all we need is for obama to import more from where he actually came from. He resufes to produce documantation of his leagality of being where he is now, and why? I firmly believe as millions believe including members of the government that he is NOT legally in an office of the government of this country.

    What he has done to this country is more then enough to impeach him and other members of the democrat party as well. He was illegally voted in, and nothing has been done about itl.

    I don't need to say more, all of America and all of the world knows this.

    May 17, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. paul

    Onyango's asylum request was turned down in 2004, and she has been living in the United States illegally since then. She appealed the rejection of her request twice, but was denied each time and ordered to leave the country

    No wonder Arizona is taking this matter into their own hands.....

    May 17, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. TCM

    wow...like this is surprising..."run it as any ordinary case..." except remember who her nephew is, and that I can snatch the funding from your dept,...

    May 17, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. Carol

    If anyone thinks he stayed out of it, they need to think again.

    May 17, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Lawrence

    I have to wonder how many more of his kind are going to be imported. We already know he has confered with an enemy behind closed doors and the American people have not been made fully aware of the results. We have been lied to again and again and again and . . .

    May 17, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. rightofrush

    Does this surprise anyone? Of course there will not be a judgement that will PO Obama.

    May 17, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. George42671

    Is this a "one-of-a-kind" deal? How many people in similar circumstances were rewarded the same way for not following legal orders to leave the country and staying here illegally?

    May 17, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    sure, sure, sure..................

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

    in the words of Owebama himself, "Misguided"

    May 17, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. eredman

    late the hate comments begin!!!!

    May 17, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    And despite the fact that by all reports he stayed completely and 100% out of it, GOPers now need to change their undies. This will be their "proof" that Obama isn't tough on illegal immigration and is somehow corruptly manipulating the system for his own personal gain, etc., and we will now be treated to them repeating it ad nauseum as a mid-term election mantra. Sigh. "Who said reality has anything to do with it?"

    Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Franklin, Adams.....

    May 17, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Robert C. Ristow

    Really builds belief in 'the system' doesn't it? She was deported over 6 YEARS AGO!! Yet, she's still here, and now that her nephew is President, she can stay! Obama is 'staying out of it'. Yeah right!! Just some more 'Chicago style politics'!!! Is anyone else sick of this crap? How do we expect to get rid of 12,000,000 illegals?!

    May 17, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. Brenda

    So, now Massachusetts citizens/tax payers-–as well as US citizens/tax payers---are now going to be stuck paying for her medical, low income housing, social security checks, etc.

    Move her in with Obama-–let him support her.

    May 17, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Perry

    Let the conspiracy theories begin!

    May 17, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. MiMi

    Why am I not surprised.

    May 17, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Brian

    of course she can, just another demonstration of social justice over equal justice

    May 17, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. tcarrier

    Anybody believe judge wasn't influenced by administration?

    May 17, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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