Obama’s Aunt Wins Asylum After Being Turned Down in 2004

President Barack Obama’s Kenyan aunt Zeituni Onyango will be allowed to stay in the United States after a six-year struggle to win asylum. What is curious is that she was denied asylum in 2004 and has reportedly remained in the country illegally. Yet, Judge Leonard Shapiro ruled that she can now stay.

Onyango, who is the half-sister of the president’s late father, is referenced by Obama in his book as a favorite relative. She originally applied for political asylum in 2002 on the basis of violence in her native Kenya. Her appeal of the earlier denial (and order of deportation) were denied.

I am not an immigration lawyer but I would be interested if any of our bloggers have experience in the field to explain how common such a reversal is in the system. Conservative bloggers are obviously protesting the decision. Putting aside the predictable politics and vitriolic language, however, I do find the decision a bit curious after the earlier denial and appeal. Perhaps this is common but it would be good to know the grounds and how they are different from 2004 to resolve questions of special treatment. This may be a common practice or circumstance but the reasons for the ruling should be explained.

In February, the court allowed her to stay in the country until her latest request was resolved, here. She appears to live in public housing in Boston but declined any comment when approached by a reporter, here. (I am not sure why it was so newsworthy in the article that she left “a $2 tip for an $8.55 order” of take-out, however.).

For the full story, click here.

12 thoughts on “Obama’s Aunt Wins Asylum After Being Turned Down in 2004”

  1. What a bunch of crap.

    Keep her here till the presidency is over than ship her lame arse back.

  2. As a social worker I can tell you LEGAL Americans (including wounded vets) have to wait years to get into public housing. DANGER? Please – the President’s legion of Kenyan relatives all came here for his inauguration – are all back in Kenya being treated like ROYALTY. The President and wife (IRS) have made millions since he caught the ‘brass ring’ ( Democratic Convention). They bought a $1.6 mill home – Michele got a 263% raise to $316,000 – not counting exotic vacation in Hawaii with friends ( $4000 a night) – designer duds. There’s 132 rooms in the White House – why are WE picking up the tab for housing & food – medical care etc. The President said he didn’t know about her living here. HUH – She visited his home in Chicago nine yrs ago – attended his ’05 Senate swearing in & Inauguration with the Kenyan relatives.

  3. Sorry to disagree with Nal B. Magnum, but the same would hold true for all of Obama’s relatives living in Kenya. The step-grandmother has become a pseudo-celebrity, commanding fees to speak to reporters about the boy she met years ago for a brief period of time. Further, Obama’s cousin is the second highest person in command of the government. If she needed protection, she wouldn’t have any problem getting it there. Why would anyone bother kidnapping her? Obama won’t even help her out financially, or any of his relatives living in Kenya for that matter, so that she doesn’t have to live in government-supported housing, which she has been illegally receiving for the past several years.

  4. welcome to america,,,,now start paying your taxes so you can help us pay for your free health care.

  5. Wootsy

    and if ever momma is wrong all she needs to do is cross her legs and BAM!!! you right momma šŸ™‚ I was for it before I was against it.

  6. As an immigration attorney I can back up what Nal is saying. Being the favored aunt of the President of the United States makes one a likely target and it’s not unreasonable that a judge would rule in her favor on the basis of her family relations. Asylum law is often decided on the basis of who you worked for, who you married, who you are related to… etc. etc. It’s very fact specific. The facts in this case fall squarely on her side. The question the judge would need to ask is does she have any perceived threats (subjective) and are they believable. In this case it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that given who she is, she might be in danger. Secondly, an asylum case can be reopened at any time based upon changed circumstances. If you are denied asylum and then your home country has a revolution, for example, you can reopen the case. The changed circumstances in this case would be the election of her nephew to the most powerful political position in the world. Just my thoughts, I could be wrong.

  7. “My wife tells me all da time Iā€™m special and dens I get da treatment.” hahahahaha!
    Bdaman, this was related to me from a friend, I think you will appreciate;

    ‘My doctor is a woman and her husband is also a doctor. I asked her how she handles the “who’s smarter” question with her kids. She says she tells her kids that Daddy is smarter… but Mommy is always right… ‘

  8. Nal, good point from a practical perspective, but was asylum granted in those terms?

  9. but it would be good to know the grounds and how they are different from 2004 to resolve questions of special treatment.

    It’s not just her, look at BP.

    Special treatment for everyone dats special. My wife tells me all da time I’m special and dens I get da treatment.

    It’s ment to treat and it dew. Dats why they calls it treatment

    Make you fell like you on top of a mountain, dew dat is.

  10. Miracles in government never seem to amaze me as much as
    they did when I was in my 20’s. It’s kind of like Willie
    getting Audited by the IRS after he admitted to smoking weed on top of the Whitehouse when Carter was in Office. I believe that GeoI reign was amongst us.

    LBJ solved almost almost every political problem with an invitation from the IRS. Some ended up in grassy knolls…..

  11. As a favorite Presidential aunt, she would be a target for kidnapping and/or violence. The fact that Obama is President is a change in circumstances that would warrant the reversal.

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