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. Bush

    It's GWB's fault!!

    May 17, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • gia

      Thank you! Most people are totally IGNORING this fact!

      May 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Carole

    I wonder if the health care is going to cover her after all after 60 don't they say that people have lived a full life and they are not worth the expense somebody please explain that to me!!! She is in a wheechair and lets see if he feels the same way about people over 60 notbeing worth it when he reaches that age oh wait we will pay him a million dollars a year when he retires!!! SO he won't have to worry about it will he!! You want out defecit to go down take half of this money that we WAIST every year on these people and there you have it take from the Rich and REALLY HONESTLY GIVE BACK TO THE POOR!!!

    May 17, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Max

    Don't you just love the 1st ammendment?

    May 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • red

      No what does that one say. Can't keep them straight.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alf

      Si, I love America. Viva los Estados Unidos de America, but don't drink the agua (water).

      May 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Don Quito

    We need to start torturing illegals. I mean really hurt them bad. They are taking our money..our way of life..

    THey need to just die. We need to arm ourselves and take this country back.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • red

      What about the conservatives that let this woman live in our country illegally for 4 years, after they had an order to deport her?

      May 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Stella

    I am SOOOO surprised she won! ~~~~~okay I will stop lying now. While the President might have stayed out of it I am sure his named was used to keep her here. Honestly, my brother-in-law is from Rwanda and the day after his visa expired they locked his azz up and almost deported him. My mother-in-law had to put up her house for him to stay. So you can't tell me this is on the up and up.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sinmiedo68

    Yocheved-"Any excuse to criticize Obama (Bush?), usually by people who never read or research the facts."+– Oh now that you guys are in the receiving end, you dont like it? Well, learn to take it because we will dish it out!!

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

    We need to rap3 their women, kill their fathers, and enslave the young men. That is the ONLY ANSWER!!!

    You want to come here..fine!!!

    May 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alf

      Hombre, tu estas loco Or just smoking that mexican gold weed? That mierda will kil you, stop and have some sleepy time tea.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mary

    does this open the legal doorway for all the illegals to become " not... so illegal anymore?"

    May 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob in Boston

    I didn't get to read every post on here, but people who are questioning her receiving government handouts, go to She has been living in free public housing in South Boston, about a stone's throw from the waterfront. Myself and the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of MA have been footing the bill for her living her illegally. Seems extremely ironic that we support her to live here, when her nephew is the President of the friggin United States.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Don Quito

    This old lady should be kicked right in the lady cr0tch for being a filthy wh0r3 bag!!

    May 17, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Don Quito

    Everyone is America is donating .000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 CENTS but it seems to be a really big deal. HRMMM..................Hate..aint it great!

    May 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bill

    Polarized America! Got to love all the nancy boys and rednecks.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Don Quito


    May 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alf

      Quito, tu eres from Ecuador? Con un nombre como Quito???

      May 17, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rudy

    She should have been deported because she was an illegal. Only then could Obama would have earned some credence that the law should apply to the main street and he tries to apply it to Wall street. What is the difference between this lady and Goldman Sacks. Both are free loaders whose presence lies in life of illegality. At least Goldman Sacks paid some taxes, employed some people. She gave nothing. She got at least free rent and other wellfare not to speak of her medicals and legals which are loaded also on the back of tax payers. Give me a break. This is not what is meant by compassionate government.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Don Quito

    DEATH TO THE OLD LADY!!!! Who is with me?!?!?!

    May 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
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