Monday, May 17, 2010
Obama's Auntie gets to stay and you and me gets to pay
A Boston immigration judge has granted President Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango, permission to stay in the United States, federal officials said today.
Reached by phone, Onyango said only, "I'm tired," and referred questions to her lawyer.
She was last known to be living in public housing in Boston.
Her attorney, Margaret Wong, confirmed the judge's decision in a statement issued form her Cleveland office today.
Immigration Judge Leonard I. Shapiro, after hearing closed-door testimony from the Kenyan native in February, granted her plea on Friday. Onyango had defied a deportation order and lived quietly in a Boston public housing project until it was revealed shortly before the 2008 election that she was here illegally.
Onyango, who turns 58 this month, was featured in the president's memoir, "Dreams from My Father," was a distant figure in his life, but she became a lightning rod in the national debate over illegal immigration.
After the publicity, she fled to Cleveland, hired Wong, and petitioned an immigration judge to allow her to stay in the United States.
In February, Wong said Onyango would argue that she should stay in this country because she suffers health problems and because she feared that she would become the target of tribal violence if she were forced to return to her homeland.
Onyango said she suffers from Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder.
During that hearing, Shapiro heard five hours of testimony by Onyango and two physicians.