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. Ed Valencia

    I think that instead of saying "Post a Comment" to leave feedback it should say "Vent" or "Time to let your stupid brain go to the bathroom", or perhaps even "OK go ahead and prove how stupid you are". For anyone with half a brain, these posts have to be very scary and underscore how little, really little, this country has come in the last 50 years when it comes to tolerance, acceptance, and civil discourse. I think that I will find a comfortable seat and watch the mindless pit bulls go at each other.

    May 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • frank from florida

      I agree. Read my comment. It's time for an intelligent discourse, not Sarah palin crap!

      May 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • vbwebber

      God wants open borders, but doesn't like lazy people. Everyone who uses welfare and does not work hard is stealing from me and from others. God will punish you, you will have no excuses when the Lord questions you why, you will only be able to truly answer, and you will say to him "Lord I did not care about myself or others, I was lazy and selfish, I manipulated and abused what was supposed to be good, I constantly bitted at the hand that feed me, I acted as an animal because I am an animal." May God have mercy on your souls.

      May 18, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. gia

    I hope some of you guys grow up and stop being so color conscious

    May 17, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alf

      Que color? We were speaking about ilegales. We have in mexico but no dolars no stay.

      May 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. June

    Is anyone surprised? Auntie is only the first of millions who will get to enjoy the fruits of our labors. Enjoy what little remains of the US way of life, then get used to being citizens of the next third world.

    May 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alf

    Yo soy Obama's long lost cousin from mexico. I love Norte America. Y hablo Ingles.

    May 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. parker

    I am surprised that so many of you can't read.

    "She was a legal resident of the United States at the time and had received a Social Security card a year earlier."

    Hell, I wouldn't leave either if I was given LEGAL residency AND a SS card.

    May 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • JZ

      Apparently you can’t read either.

      “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.”

      May 17, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Don Quito

    June...she needs to die right? You with me..we are going to get a lynch mob together and hunt this little American Hater down. We are doing it June 1st in honor of your hate. What is your address...we will pick you up in the 1964 Ford Pickup. You will see is hard to is raised about 4 ft and has a bunch of rebel flags on it.

    May 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alf

      Don, take tus medicines. Stop de hate, you sound like Wright who is wrong.

      May 17, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Don Quito

    In reality it is really is Lincoln's fault. If it werent for Lincoln we would not have this problem.

    May 17, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alf

      Lincoln was a republicano. Republicanos are buenos, they want everyone to work. But otros was us on welfare, guess they buy votes that way.

      May 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Don Quito

    Death To Retards And Coloreds!!!!!! Sign up at

    May 17, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. M.E.

    She's an elderly woman in a wheelchair who fled from violence. Shame on all of you.

    May 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spike

      What part of the term illegal is beyond your comprehension?

      May 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • beowulf2

      slow clap...

      May 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      How about you tell her to stop using the Taxpayers money for her medical bills....

      May 18, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. JZ

    You have got to be completely clueless if you think Obama being president didn't have anything to do with it. Even if he didn't directly pull any strings, do you actually think a judge was going to send the presidents aunt packing illegal or not. More than likely he did pull some strings but do you think he would actually come out and say he did. There's a lot that happens in politics you don't hear about. Previously she was denied twice and then Obama because president and she is approved. If the judge would have denied her the next article that you would have seen is "Judge retires for personal reasons".

    May 17, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rob L

    What a load of crap. This country is going down hill fast. Thanks Obama, for getting the ball rolling faster.

    May 17, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ruler4You

    She can stay? Really? Was there EVER even the slightest question that this was going to be the answer? E-V-E-R? Face it the "3" branches of 'government' are 'really' just one BIG cabal of criminals.

    May 17, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. easytarget

    when is all the B. S. goin 2 stop impeach them both obama is not a us citizen prove it to me teaparty is here an now PREPARE??????????

    May 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waileka

      My favorite bumpersticker: Re-elect PRESIDENT BIDEN in 2012. Right on!

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

    Of course – why should we expect an obama family member to obey they law, when they advocate breaking them all the time?

    May 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Karen

    Yippee! Another sure vote for the Regime, [peace be upon him] Another ILLEGAL, welfare moocher. GREAT!

    May 17, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
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