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. red

    There needs to the a new link below each post "Report Stupidity".

    May 17, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. regi

    Ummm, if she has been here for 6 years – don't see how Pres Obama has anything to do with that. He hasn't been in office for 6 years. Stop pointing fingers... Would people be this upset if she wasn't related to the President?

    May 17, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • red

      Hmmm, so he knew about her BEFORE he was President, got elected and then still did nothing. Hmmm. Yeah that is not right.

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

      Regi, He was not president for 6 years, but while he was not president, her application was denied, TWICE and was ordered to leave. IT WAS DENIED TWICE BEFORE HE WAS PRESIDENT. Now that he is president and he claimed to have stayed out of it, It was approved. So yes, while not directly involved, he was indirectly involved and I believe the decision was based on her nephew being President of the country she is trying to reside in. While she is no bother to me personally, fair is fair. What is go for one is good for all.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. anonymous

    She only received her asylum because her nephew is the US President! Her initial case was not ruled in her favor and demanded her return to her country of origin. Yet, she continued to stay in the US illegally.

    This just showed that the US federal government is INEFFECTIVE in controlling its borders and deporting illegal immigrants. It also showed that the Obama administration may have taken part in the decision making. I would ask the general public to demand the release of all correspondences between the White House staff and the courts under the Freedom of Information Act.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • red

      why don't you just file it instead of asking someone else to do it for you. I know, get some illegal alien to go get you the forms.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. foyelady

    Did you guys miss the part about being given asylum & then turned down. She was here legally and appealed when told to leave. That is a legal process that is allowed. You can come to the USA & apply to become a legal immigrant, with a green card. From there you can apply to become a naturalized citizen of the USA with the full rights & privileges we enjoy as such. Many of the "illegals" only stay here because it is hard to come back & forth across the border. If we had an orderly system for this part of the whole thing we could cut down on some of the crime & corruption. In addition, if Arizona or anyone else was serious about stopping the "illegals" they would only have to severely fine the businesses that hire them. Many businesses today add fines in as a cost of doing business. The fines are not high enough to deter hiring these immigrants.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Maria

    for those idiots like "George"....she has been on Welfare stupid! She's been on subsidized house for years! You don't call this 'welfare'? then you need to get educated as you're surely very very stupid!

    May 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John Vacek

    She's the next "Secretary of Immigration Affairs".

    May 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe AZ

      No, that's Czar.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pet629

    what a shame. She was denied residency and asked to leave the country 2 times already. Before he was President.
    She should have been put on a plane and taken out of this country. The government should enforce the rules if they make them if not, its like telling a child I am going to punish you but never do. Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk. NO ONE SHOULD BE HERE ILLEGAL. Bottom line. We let anyone come into our country and the real americans are paying for it in more ways than one. WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR GOVERNMENT.....EVERYTHING.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Don Quito

    Hey Guess What Freaks.....Oil is still gushing out in the Guld Of Mexico. North Korea is still crazy as ever...Iran is continuing to enrich Uranium..and ohh...We have soldiers that have bullets whizzing over their heads as we speak..type.

    A little perspective would be appreciated.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • red

      Thanks for keeping us in the loop Don. You preform a wonderful service to your country. Wasting time on the internet while all that stuff happens. Good man.

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

    why is everyone blaming Obama for a decision THE AUNT made, heck , that Bush was fine with? He has said he isn't getting in the middle. Some people just complain for complaining sake

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

      if obama stated he wasn't involved in the court's decision-making, then have the courts release all correspondences between all counsels, the white house, and the courts to the general public and the media. i bet at least one person in the white house intervened.

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

      Are you kidding me? That is not a sane idea.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ANNA


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

      If she weren't the aunt of the president, she wouldn't have anything close to the amount of risk to personal well-being that being a relative imparts. The judge ruled as much on the aspect of danger to the individual arising from deportation.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dee dee

    u effas! dont have a freakin clue what hunger, joblessness misery and suffering is unless u lived in Africa or a third world country w/o your choice, Americans take a lot of sh** for granted, i have seen it and continue to see it everyday, killing on the streets black on black violence, and here u r angry at sum1 that has been dying to have an opportunity to live life like sum of us, shame on everyone on here heckling, empty vessels make the most noise, get a job or sumthing, wasting time over here worried about the president, he stayed out of it, it took its course and the judge sympathized witht the lady, for heavens sake! and Obama is really doing a good job....keep it up Mr. President I am a proud Kenyan

    May 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. beowulf2

    wow..soon as someone disagrees with anything liberal or presidential they all of a sudden are marked a racist and bigot....shows who the bigots REALLY are.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Scott Jeffery

    My blood is boiling now. This woman, who blatantly defied a court ordered, deportation, is allowed to now remain here as a legal resident. The US Consulate, in Ciudad Juarez, de-facto deported my 3 year old son, back to Mexico, a country he never lived in, nor of which he speaks their language. We have been living a nightmare for the past two years while we live in two countries, trying to resolve this with the US department of State.

    I wonder if President Obama can pull some strings for my family as well?

    May 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Charlie B

    I think we should send all people was forefathers was not born in a tee-pee back to where they come from. The only ones beside the Indian that should stay are the ones who were brought here against their will. Bye bye mouthy ones.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • red

      Ok thanks for that. I appreciate it. I will start making plans to go. Oh wait, which country should I go back too? Hmmmm. Like many of us in this great land I am a byproduct of many generations of mixed heritage. So where do I go back to? No clue. At least with this woman we know where she came from.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I think we should get rid of people that don't proofread the things that they post. You need an English class Carole.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Don Quito



    ME– I am prescious and the most important thing in the universe. I love me!!! MMMMmmmmmmmmmmm I am like a skittle!!!

    May 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
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