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.).
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