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. im laffin at u all

    First of all... This case is older than Obamas Presidential Aspirations. It was pending an APPEAL from 2004. you guys are such idiots. if any of you knew half of what you think you do, maybe you wouldnt be the racist fools you are. im so sick of no one on here just saying it. ur all racist. obamas part black and you cant stand it. as far as what kind of job he's doing... i finally have a job after almost 2 years of little to no work. and i am white. while bush was in office i saw my once successful business slide into bankruptcy while all of his rich buds got richer. now i have steady work, groceries AND gas in my car And a few dollars in the bank. So sure Obama... Keep youre welfare getting Auntie here if its your doing, because i dont mind supporting someones family that has done so much to support mine.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • PostingBoy

      Are you lauging because you are high? That would be my guess...
      Being against people who are in the country illegally does not equate to racism. People are angry that she defied orders to leave the country (she didn't have to go back to Kenya, there are other places on the planet) which in effect was a thumb of the nose at the American legal system. Then while she stayed in the country unwelcomed, she lived off of the sweat of the tax-payers. No matter who she is related to or where she is from, she openly defied the law and made demands that Americans financially support a citizen of another country. If this doesn't anger you, you are challenged, to say the least...that is your perogative. But to admonish people who are tired of slaving a few hours each month so the money can go to support people who have no legal right within our borders makes you an enemy of America. Keep working your job, slave...the illegals want medical, housing, and food on your dime.

      May 18, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jon

    Of course she can stay..let's just let EVERYONE stay. Why not right? Just open up the flood gates and let anyone/everyone come as they please.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AGuest9

    Yeah, big shock there...

    May 18, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Carla

    Why not? she has been living of our taxes like all Ilegal imigrants, and if President Barck Hosseini Obama wants his relatives from his father here, half of Kenya will come because the man had more than 10 wifes and zillions kids, this is the real reason he is against the Imigration Law in Arizona.
    This person is not working , and needs a lot of medical care, here we are legal residents and citizens that we pay taxes have to pay for them.

    May 18, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cajr

    does this really suprise anyone? sheesh.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JC2

    Arizona tourists are boycotting San Diego now for what LA is threatening. $ will speak and the idiots will lose. GO ARIZONA!!

    May 19, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
    • im laffin at u all

      people in arizona also think keeping inmates outside in a tent city and making them wear pink underwear is not cruel or unusual. i can tell you now, making MEN wear pink underwear might not be cruel but it sure as hell is UNUSUAL. Maricopa County i believe. check it out for yourself.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      LA seems to have no problem NOT boycotting the huge amount of electricity they use from Arizona's utility companies.

      June 2, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. georgesensei

    Voters of the American people. Remember to vote..... against any and all politicians who do not want illegal foreigners to leave our country. Vote them out of office.... esp. Obama. Send him and his "auntie" back to their village. His auntie has no right to be here and no judge should have the power to keep her here after she stay in the U.S. illegally. Stealing our tax dollars for free rent, food and liberty.

    May 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    ok, one more last, last thing 🙂

    I would pretty much automatically grant a relative of the United States President, asylum. It's common sense. Asylum is for people whose life is in danger, a relative of the United States President, would be subject to kidnapping... common sense folks, she needed asylum.

    May 20, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • im laffin at u all

      finally someone with some common sense.... and as far as defying a court order because she is related to the president.... her appeal was started way before obama was nominated to run.....

      May 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rob

    You all claim to love the law, but you forget asylum is the law of the land. In fact, if you wouldn't apply political asylum to a relative of the United States President – who would you apply it to? I mean this is a dangerous world, and its obvious a relative of the President could use asylum, otherwise she'd be subject to kidnapping and other dangers...So when you get angry about it, about the law being followed, about the asylum process working exactly as intended...you pretty much show your love for 'law' is just a premise.

    The truth is, you really are just racists.

    May 20, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • im laffin at u all

      finally a REAL voice with REAL educated opinions... such a breath of fresh air...

      May 21, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chad Lietz

    Wow, this is a surprise, actually it's not. It seems like everyone who supports increased immigration, amnesty for illegals or just ignoring existing laws all together have some alterior motive for their actions. Most of the time they have friends or family members who are here illegally or they want the extra votes a large amnesty bill would give them. This just proves that the President like so many has an alterior motive for speaking out against new laws like the one in Arizona. I just want the President to know that while I did vote for him, I have just lost a lot of respect for him. The President is suppose to set an example and you can not expect any of us to believe that the President did not know that his aunt was here illegally or that the President did not use his influence and power to finally get the court to rule in favor of his aunt.

    May 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mb

    President Obama is brilliant. If you think you are smarter then why are you not the president? I am a republican and I voted for President Obama and I will vote him in again. If you respected President Obama then there is no way you could lose respect for him. You never respected him anyways. This man became the president of the white world with sheer brilliance. He is of tremendous character and mind. Something which all of you lack. If I were the judge I would give this man's aunt citizenship without question. It would be better to let people who deserve to be here stay and throw the rest of you fat and useless americans out. All you do is whine and whine and whine. Get out of this country and whine someplace else.

    May 20, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. lafenmom

    Hmmm...and I wonder what you 'leave the poor illegal alien alone" people would say about the young men who did the same thing – they were just poor working immigrants (how did the one get a cab medallion?) who overstayed their visas, had sham marriages, and TRIED TO BLOW UP NYC?

    WHY the hell are we allowing anyone from Pakistan to have a visa??

    WHY is there ANYONE from the middle east here, enjoying American freedom while our young men and women are loosing their lives in THEIR country, fighting for THEIR freedoms???

    May 21, 2010 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. lafenmom

    Hmmm...and I wonder what you 'leave the poor illegal alien alone" people would say about the young men who did the same thing – they were just poor working immigrants (how did the one get a cab medallion?) who overstayed their visas, had sham marriages, and TRIED TO BLOW UP NYC?

    WHY the hell are we allowing anyone from Pakistan to have a visa??

    WHY is there ANYONE from the middle east here, enjoying American freedom while our young men and women are loosing their lives in THEIR country, fighting for THEIR freedoms???

    Oh yeah, because they're just poor, harmless illegal aliens.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. KeninTexas

    "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".... After having been ordered to leave 6 years ago, she ignores the law and just waits it out. The government should have expelled her long ago. No wonder the country is overrun with illegals. The government just isn't doing it's job. And now the judge lets her stay after her thumbing her nose at the law for 6 years. What a joke, except it's not funny.

    May 21, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • im laffin at u all

      ken youre from texas so i think you might have a problem with illegals Just because of your geography. that being said, she never violated the law. she was granted the appeal. you can not get an appeal just because you want one. you have to have a substantiated reason. a judge other than the one that granted her the asylum obviously felt that she had JUST CAUSE for her appeal. she did not defy the courts. she was involved in this little thing called DUE PROCESS. something everyone in american courts is afforded EXCEPT enemy COMBATANTS. i do not believe she was fightingf with fists or guns, she used a pen and WON. dont be mad at her, Obama or the judge. Be mad at your founding fathers for affording these rights to all. because that is really what is making youy mad. that she, The ILLEGAL, fought LEGALLY and won. must really burn your a$$.

      May 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob

    Complete BS. Kenya is a democratic country with a stable government. Anyone applying for asylum in the US from a democratic nation is normally rejected and to grant this stay is a disgrace of our legal system and yet another example of how corrupt the federal government and this administration are.

    May 22, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
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