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. ni6180

    The problem is that we the stupid americans keep voting for the same idiots every election. Please in november this year vote for any one tha is not in office regardless of which party they belong. If we keep throwing the bums out every 4 years maybe they will start to listen to us and not the rest of the world and the united nations.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Don Quito

    This is truly a scary issue with seriuos implications. I think we are doomed. 2012 I told!! Nostradomus and the Mayans predicted "the aunt of kenyan decent shall wreck the world of their taxes"

    May 17, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ryan

    As a Canadian, I love reading the comment board to see what our neighbours to the south think and react. A lot of you people terrify me. I love how you can trumpet the land of opportunity and hope and prosperity in one hand yet are so openly racist and closed minded in the other.

    Should she have been deported? Probably according to law. She was ordered to twice. Regardless of his involvement, this was a high profile case and clearly favors were done whether President Obama requested it or not. However, that doesn't give people the right to be so blatantly racist and making wild accusations about all immigrants being these horrible people painted with the same brush. I love how you feel you can "just claim the good ones". Any sports fan, movie fan, music fan, TV fan etcetera would know that these privledged people get special treatment while regular immigrants actually in need of help and trying to make a better life for theselves come to America with that dream. I'll admit, the American govenment and people as a general whole have been making a lot of dumb mistakes over the past decade. But to start going off on blaming foreigners for all the problems is ridiculous. I've had a couple job offers in the US with a work Visa and I couldn't picture myself living in a country that promotes radical behaviour, violence and fear mongoring. It's funny to say, but the US is being left behind in the world and eventually force and racist behavior won't put you at the top. Despite our dependence on the US for many things, I'm excited to watch the implosion.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • gia

      Now you've gone and done it. Watch out for vitriolic statements coming your way. This is a tough crowd. (lol)

      May 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • texaslady2

      The problem is that many of us are getting tired of our country being taken advantage of by illegal aliens. Yes, the cheapskate employers take advantage of them, but the aliens also take advantage of every possible bit of welfare they can get hold of. Millions of Americans are jobless while employers dip into the cheap labor pool (illegal aliens) to fill their jobs at about half the salary. Sure, it is the employers who entice the illegals with job availability, but the aliens aren't blameless: they know exactly what they are doing. Without them, employers would have to pay decent wages to get American employees. We need to deport all illegal aliens and their families, and give those jobs to Americans.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • gia

      As long as americans would want these jobs you mean

      May 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snacula

      Exactly what do the Canadiens depend on the US for? Hockey opponents? We are well on our way to having nothing that anyone wants. Our government has forced us to become racist because unless you work for a living, they will give you handouts that most working class cannot afford to have. Yes, most tax paying, law abiding citizens are racist in some form or fashion, because it is the truth. Let's face it, you would feel the same way. Suppose you were at the grocery store, purchasing some cheap diapers, and ramen noodles with the little money that you do have, because you chose to do things "the right way". Then, the person in front of you, with their 5 children, purchase steaks, seafood, expensive diapers (and wipes), with food stamps, and welfare money; then they get into their new Mercedes, and roll down the street, passing you with your red rider wagon. You can clearly see what is going on now, huh?!? Yes, we're racist. The government leaves us with no choice but to be that way. WE ARE SICK OF IT!!!!!!!!

      May 17, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • gia

      You can be angry as much as you want but...u don't need to be racist1

      May 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bleebo

      Hey Ryan,
      this is how we work things out. You wouldn't understand since you all "follow" our every move. It's called leading.
      You do make good beer, but lead? Not Canada. Not anything. Not even donuts. Yes, we make the best donuts too.

      Sorry. Sit back, watch the show and try to learn something. Maybe in another generation or two, Canada can contribute something useful besides comedians and beer.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debby

      Here's a new flash for you Ryan,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I, for one, am sick and tired of Canadians commenting on American issues.

      I've had a couple job offers in the US with a work Visa and I couldn't picture myself living in a country that promotes radical behaviour, violence and fear mongoring. It's funny to say, but the US is being left behind in the world and eventually force and racist behavior won't put you at the top. Despite our dependence on the US for many things, I'm excited to watch the implosion.

      Do us all a favor and stay in Canada. You're exaclty what we don't need. Another santicmonious jerk! Good luck with the implosion, I'm sure Canada won't be affected in anyway. Don't worry about it, just have a beer and watch some hockey!

      May 17, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Don Quito


    May 17, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mick Mack

    Max – that was written along time ago before this country went to hell. I bet if whoever agreed to out those words there could see the country now, would regret it and take them down. Good intentions but we are a country taken advantaged of (even from within). Texe Marrs rocks!

    May 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. LIB

    ni61, I am very happy with who I voted for, president obama. Atleast it was legally done with his aunt. TIred of whites making payoffs to get things done. President Obama is decent and legal.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snacula

      Now if that's not the pot calling the kettle black.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bleebo

      you can't use the word "black" it has been deemed a racist color.
      In fact, all colors except "white" are considered racist and should never be used in open conversation.
      But "white" can be used as a racist remark if you use it instead of "black". for instance:
      "Well if that's not calling the kettle white" . See. See how excluding the word "black from where it is normally used is using it in a way to exclude the "black" population and is therefor racist.

      You can only use the word "white" if you are using it to belittle, put down or otherwise criticize the white minority, especially if referring to middle age white males., where anything goes.

      In fact, you have to even be very careful when suffering to "white" males as it will be construed as as promoting racists while male beliefs, even if the context has nothing to do with anything other than your 4 year old child's finger painting. Which hopefully would not be a finger painting of the Nazi flag, even then a 4 year would have no knowledge of what that flag represents and it was cleverly designed to appeal to children.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Greg

    I believe that Obama may have stayed out of it but what about his staff. For some reason I just find it hard to believe

    May 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Balls Deep


    President that is failing? Failing at what? getting 30 million ppl health care? Developing new relationships with Countries that hate us? turning the Economy that the republicans nearly totaled? His aunt and her legal staus has nothing to do with him. You are just a red neck, no brain cousin screwing racist, who is mad that change is happening and that this country is finally progressing. What kind of real job skills do you have. you dont sound so smart dear. You would want Palin running our country and economy. where do you ppl come from. McCain and Palin? Good grief.. God Bless this Country and may you continue to shine your progressive light on such lost ppl.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      When did 30 million people get health care?
      The bill that passed didn't give ANYONE heath care coverage.
      It gave them access to it... access they already had.
      What it did do is open the door for corporations to no longer over employer paid health care.
      It's cheaper to pay the fine and not provide it than it would be for them to provide it.
      A lot of them have very publicly stated this as an option they are considering.
      Guess you don't keep up with the news much huh?

      May 17, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Deb

    Just another criminal illegal, who lives for years in violation of our laws, who gets a free pass. Of course, being related to the Prez I'm sure helped her cause. Sickening that our gov't will not enforce our laws for millions of illegals yet expects Americans to obey them. Illegal is illegal, and she should have been deported, which is the punishment for the crime.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Don Quito

    Americans are crazy!! Where is a "nice" country at. I don't like it here anymore. There is some serious confusion and pent up anger. I don't want to have to unload my 9 mil in anyone so I Australia maybe...Jamaica...maybe somewhere in South America...

    Where is a laid back place not filled with self-righteous hate mongers. If you are a chick and hot we can go together if it sounds appealing. America sucks!!!!

    May 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alf

      Ecuador is nice.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. PatDuval

    This woman lives down the street from me in public housing in South Boston, MA in a beautiful residence. She is collecting welfare and has been for years. I know Boston citizens (US citizens), some withdisabled children, who are on a waiting list for public housing and can't get it because of illegal immigrants like this woman sucking off the system. Do you really think this woman will contribute anything to society except sucking off it? Send her back or let Obama pay for her.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • gia

      Sorry ma'am but I don't hear you complaining when it was Bush who allowed all this!

      May 17, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jocada

    Just so we ALL get the message – there is no consequence for breaking the law. I'm sure if it's okay for Pres. Obama's aunt to ignore the law, it'll be okay for 12-20 million other illegals to ignore the laws (which they are doing daily). So much for "a nation of laws"!

    May 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Smokey

    An illegal sucking up the tax dollars by living in public housing. At least get a job and pay your own way if you are here illegally.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • red

      That is what about 10,000,000 of them have done!! Tried to find work lately?

      May 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. KS

    While the President stayed out of it, as he said he would, he had great influence over the decision by the judge. Being turned down twice on appeals meant there was no grounds for her to remain in the United States, however Nephew is President, grounds for her to stay were found. Its unfair to others in the same situation. Case in point, the college student who was brought here by her parents is now being deported after her studies is over and her record is now stained by the deportation order which bars her from re-entering the US for at least the next 8 years.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • red

      Fulbright scholars must return to their country of origin regardless of their families status. This has caused several problems where I work.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Just_wondering

    On what grounds did they allow her to stay? Ok she comes from a place that is rather dangerous to live, but they ship back hundreds every year to more dangerous places. What does she have to offer America? Can she become gainfully employed? Is it true she has lived on welfare the whole time she has been here? If so how and why did she get it?

    Illegals having benefits most Americans can never qualify for is a big part of why Americans are mad and want immigrants to leave. It is not all the immigrants fault our system is so flawed we have allowed them to come here, stay and enjoy our Health Care, our Freedoms without making them accountable to our society. I understand why they are so angry and demand we keep handing them help, food and health care because we always have.

    It may be a little late in trying to fix this issues, this is like trying to hold back the water after the flood gate is open. It is going to be dirty and messy and a lot of people are going to get hurt. A lot of people are not going to like the out comes of the changing tide, but unless things change and fast there is not going to be any hope for this country, except one where most of us are poor, looking to the few Rich to give us a hand out,, which makes us all Slaves to the system. Which gives them the right to tell us what to do and when to do it and for how long. He who controls the food and water controls the people. He who controls the flow of money and who gets it controls everyone.

    The Government is enjoy the chaos this is bringing, because in chaos we don't pay attention to what they are doing. The more they enrage the emotions of our society, pit black against white, Gays against Christians for example we can not be united in the cause of man. We only see the small space in front of our noses and we don't see the steal trap shutting around us as long as we keep fighting so blindly for our personal rights,,, They are our Rights and we will lose them if we don't stop fighting amongst ourselves and unite for what is important, our freedoms, our choices, our rights Civil and personal, but do it with tolerance of each other, not just bits and pieces of choices but allow the live and let live to work.

    What the ACLU has failed to see is the erasing of common sense that come with it's victories. Where does one draw the line to freedom of speech for example. We now have people who stand on street corners preaching the down fall and death of our democracy, and we have to let them do it. There is no common sense in that, it is destructive to the whole, they are keeping me from my right to live peacefully and securely at night because of their hate. Mind you hate for a country they have chosen to come and live in and work, or live on welfare. Where does it stop, if we keep erasing, and removing, before long the foundations of this country will be gone and we will have nothing to stand for.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
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