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. Kristina

    If this had not been the President's Aunt she would not have been given this privelege.

    May 17, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. Dr.Robb

    How can you make anyone a citizen of this who is living here illegally? As a nation we have gone mad, and the judge should be removed from the bench.

    May 17, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. myself

    well duh, what judge in there right mind is going to deny the president's aunt.

    May 17, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. kuate

    Good to see good morals at work . Good for her and good for him .

    May 17, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. Trey

    Of course she gets to stay, she is the "president's" aunt.

    May 17, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. george cook

    YEAH...I'll bet...questions like this seem to "RUN IN THE FAMILY" don't they...where there is smoke there is fire....but I guess somebody already said that quite some time ago. was there any doubt she would be allowed to stay in the US with President Obama in power????

    May 17, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. LegalImmigrant

    It took me three years to become a permanent resident, over $6000 in fees to INS, and I had no guarantee of acceptance, and if I commit 1 crime my status can be revoked. What world is this where people who follow the law are held to higher standards of behaviour than those that do not?

    May 17, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Trinh

    Oh, I wonder he oppose Immigration law in Arizona. That is rediculuous for her to stay in USA. Deport her.

    May 17, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Oh I'm so surprised......

    what makes her different from the other Kenyans that were sent back?

    May 17, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. dh12864

    Exactly how much did she "contribute" into SS benefits that she is now benefiting from???

    May 17, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. c

    So wrong!!!!

    May 17, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. billrrr

    she broke the law when she was told to leave so she should have been sent back period, but it's what's in a name not whether the whitehouse intervened or not, let's see how the judges future goes. i guess big big doors will open,
    now we are going to have every illegal staying not understanding what just happened.

    May 17, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. Obama the liar

    ABOVE THE LAW-helps being a leftist Obama friend or relative.

    May 17, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. Phil

    This may turn out badly for Obama. You have millions of illegals demanding the right to be here legally and then your illegal aunt is given asylum. We're going to need a lot more bureaucrats now to process those 5+ million applications of asylum!

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

    How much help did she get from Obama. Too many questions left unanswered.

    May 17, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Jim

    Wooohoo..another illegal here sucking off the teet of those that work for a living. Be thy brothers keeper eh Barry? If this is how you take care of your "brother", I want no part of it. How long has she been living in the slums and you have done nothing to help her? And now I am sure you had a hand in keeping her here.

    May 17, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. GeorgeD

    Thousands of illegal immigrants enter this country every year, get free medical care, and I can't believe they couldn't give the President's aunt a break.

    May 17, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. tidho

    COngratulations Mr. President, your first succesful amnesty case. Who needs laws?!

    May 17, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. Obama the liar

    up next--20 million ILLEGAL aliens.

    May 17, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. TU DOAN

    Can she stay if she was not Obama's ant?

    May 17, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. Michael

    Congratulations to her but 6 years??

    Shows how broken our system is and how much a rational immigration policy fair to all would be residents is needed.

    May 17, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. Mike

    If I were the President, I would make sure all my family members were ok.

    May 17, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. ehwilson429

    the court should order her to be moved to the white house and let obama support her with his tens of millions of dollars from Geotge Soros buying his books by the truckload.

    then soros rented warehouse to put them in.
    Center for America Progress is a 100% funded Soros operation.

    May 17, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. Thomas

    What is the over/under on how long before the judge gets a sweet appointment from Obama.

    May 17, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Robert

    Of course....it is who you know and not the fact that you are an illegal, who refused to leave in 2004 when ordered to, living in public housing, and of course, the Auntie of the President.

    May 17, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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