May 17th, 2010
01:25 PM ET

Judge rules Obama's aunt can stay in U.S.

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, allowing her to remain in the country.

Onyango's attorneys plan to hold a press conference at 2 p.m. 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, 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.

Judge Shapiro gave Onyango permission to remain in the United States in April 2009 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.

soundoff (550 Responses)
  1. paul

    She was here illegally...somehow living off the state of Massachusetts for six years, yet she has cleveland lawyer I am sure pro-bono because of who her nephew is...SHE WAS HERE ILLEGALLY...and the president says its okay. Yet we are yelling and screaming why a terrorist was on a flight and his visa was not revoked after being on hit list. He had a visa she had one and it expired...wheres the breakdown in the executive department.

    May 24, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • im laffin at u all

      There is no breakdown. She was her legaly, her visa expired. Whatever. Instead of being mad at one little old woman, be mad at yourself for being a racist. You racist.

      May 24, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Charlie Avila

    DISCRIMINATION!!!!, DISCRIMINATION!!!!<DISCRIMINATION!!!, just because is the president's aunt????.....INJUSTICE!!!!......against others!!!....the justice is BLIND!!!......

    May 25, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BROKEN

    Have read through the majority of these posts. Not one of them about the rancher who was shot and killed by an illegal. Have none of you any heart for justice in this country. If it wasn't for that ONE case and the , I'm sure hundreds more , like it. Then i would say lets embrass the rest of the world. Unfortunatly I CAN NOT. If you are here illegaly PLEASE become legal or go home.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • im laffin at u all

      thats what she DID. she dam sure didnot shoot and kill anyone. except maybe the "purist," I mean racist Americans that find fault with all that isn't white or exclusively for the white

      June 5, 2010 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    Like the judge would ever rule against Obama...

    June 2, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kathy

    The court has spoken. This woman is elderly, sickly, and not a threat to this country. She's been in the country how long??? This is about her NOT President Obama! Give it a rest with all the hate mail already. Act like adults and have some compassion and understanding. There are bigger issues to contend with in this country... God help us all!

    June 2, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • im laffin at u all

      thx 4 the not so common, common sense.

      June 5, 2010 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. mary caruso

    Fine, fine, let the old gal stay. We let far worse people come to America. I do have a problem with President Obama, regarding his character. Once he knows his Auntie is here, should he not be paying her expenses, rather than the American taxpayers?? It is ridiculous for her to be on welfare when he made $5,000,000.00 in 2009. If Michele's Mom can live in the White House, why not Auntie?????????????????????????????????????????

    June 7, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kathy

    She may be taken care of yet by her nephew now that this legal stance has been settled. He took a back seat until the courts had settled the issue. I'm sure we would be hearing how President Obama was doing something illegal or interferring with the due process of the law if he had stepped in before this issue was settled. Just look at all the lovely blogs ahead of ours. So much hate is beyond belief to me! The man is not perfect but no other president has been either. I don't think anyone could do that job to everyone's satisfaction. This country is in a real mess! Let's all try to be a little more respectful . . .

    June 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • im laffin at u all

      o mfuk u

      June 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bush

    Listen, I know why all of you talk about President Obama Aunt. It is his Aunt, as a black president, about 90% American has no respect for him because you're all jalouse about that but respect his brain. Only for his Aunt illegal in the country you all make noises about that. What about the 12 million illegals in the US? USA is not the best country in the world, not a paradise. If you read the bible US will be very poor and has no respect

    June 18, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gscojaa

      If you don't think this is the best country, go to the one that you believe is the best.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Deborah

    I don't care how long they have been here, round them up and send them home with all children born here. I am sick and tired of my taxes taking care of these illegals. They are a blight on society.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. thadea

    That judge should resign. If not, get him thrown out and disbarred permanently. Sounds like political favors to me. 2004, they wanted her deported...now this guy wants her to stay? just because she is obama's relative who committed an illegal act? gtfo

    September 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jeff

    She should pay back (haha) all the money she stold from us and go home. This is exactly the problem. The officials who gave her our money should be prosecuted.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jeff

    It's about the money ...stupid.....

    September 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bigmouth

    I DONT CARE HOW IT IS SAID IT IS WRONG FOR SOMEONE THAT IS NOT A CITIZEN OF USA AND HAS NEVER PAID TAXES TO BE ABLE TO LIVE IN GOVERMENT HOUSEING GET MEDICAID AND FOOD STAMPS. WHEN THE PEOPLE OF THE USA AND THE VETS CANT EVEN DO THAT ...HOW ABOUT HELPING THE ONE HERE FIRST FIVE YEARS OF FREE MEDICAL FIVE YEARS OF HOUSING MUST BE NICE WHILE THIS SINGLE MOTHER OF THREE ADULT CHILDREN BUYS FOOD CLOTHING LIGHTBILLS FOR HER CHILDREN BECAUSE THEY CANT GET THAT KIND OF HELP WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG OBAMA SHOULD BE ASHAMED HOPE HIS GIRLS HAVE TO LIVE IN A NOTHER COUNTRY AND DO WITH OUT

    September 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. G Royes

    Inscription on the Statue of Liberty
    Author: Emma Lazarus
    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
    Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
    This poem by Lazarus says it all

    September 21, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • James D

      The President edited her poem in july of 2010 when speeking about Immigration. Yes, the president left out the section about "the wretched refuse of your teeming shore." Why was that???

      G Royes, if you believe this poem says it all, Then you must agree and approve with what took place in 1980. The Mariel boatlift was a mass exodus of Cubans who departed from Cuba's Mariel Harbor for the United States between April 15 and October 31, 1980. The event was precipitated by a sharp downturn in the Cuban economy which led to internal tensions on the island and a bid by up to 10,000 Cubans to gain asylum in the Peruvian embassy.
      What Say you G Royes, or are you just refering to this one individual, President Obamas Aunt, who was also invited by her nephew to attend his Presidential Inauguration and she attended graciously; but don't forget, he new nothing of her imigration status, not a thing!

      September 21, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • James D

      Continued:

      The Cuban government subsequently announced that anyone who wanted to leave could do so, and an exodus by boat started shortly afterwards. The exodus was organized by Cuban-Americans with the agreement of Cuban president Fidel Castro. The exodus started to have negative political implications for U.S. president Jimmy Carter when it was discovered that a number of the exiles had been released from Cuban jails and mental health facilities. America had been tricked into receiving Cuba's undesirables. Castro publicly stated "I have flushed the toilets of Cuba on the United States".

      The Mariel boatlift was ended by mutual agreement between the two governments involved in October 1980. By that point, as many as 125,000 Cubans had made the journey to Florida.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SONJA

    this woman gives all illegal, hardworking people a bad name. comes, goes to the hosptal for free, now we support her the rest of her lazy live! she never did anything for this country,

    September 21, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
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