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. James D

    When I started Middle School in 1972, a Judge, his name was Garrity, whose school desegregation order led to the racial turmoil in the very town this woman lives in today. When he forced kids like myself at the time, to be bussed out of our communities and our schools. We could not file for Asylum, and we were being bussed into very dangerous neighborhoods and schools, life threatening. Even with riots and protest marches and violence, the Judge's order stood and nothing could be done to change it. It destroyed many promising young lives and the young people who were bussed into our neighborhood and schools, also had their lives damaged, IM very surprised that there were no lawsuits brought against the Government for mental anguish. They only learned, how it felt to be truly hated, it was not their fault. The teachers were not able to teach anything, they were to busy watching their backs and just trying to keep unharmed. Fear was ramp id and it brought out the worst in everyone involved. This Judges decision was not the fault of the students being bussed into our schools; but they also paid the ultimate price, no education and exposure to fear and hate and racism, mostly brought on by the fear , as we were losing our freedom of choice and being forced to obey the new Law, the order of desegregation, there was no way around it. If this Judge had good intentions, he did not have the brains to see, that no matter how it was introduced, it was not going to improve anyone's education or way of life. Since its implementation in 1972 to this day, the Boston school system is a septic tank, it never recovered. Since Judge Leonard Shapiro made the ruling, giving legal status to Zeituni Onyango, she is all set now, a Judges Law overrides all of the rules and regulations for one individual, that millions of other illegal aliens have to abide, to become legal citizens. For most, there are years of classes needed to be taken and even a test they must take and pass, I think? Not only did this openly ungrateful woman get a free pass; but she also gets SSD in the amount of $700 a month, that without contributing a dime into the S. S. system; but that was the Governments fault she explains. Not only that; but she was granted Public Housing, in the newest and the very best housing location and facility in the City, with the very best accommodations, located in South Boston MA. She was put right to the top of a very, very long list of local people, who have been waiting for years on that list to obtain housing, in the very Public Housing facility location that she lives in now. How did this happen, how did she bypass the list and the rules in this situation? Just lucky maybe, or if she were to give the reason, it was the governments fault. There is something very wrong going on and I believe we deserve answers, how did this happen, who was responsible for these overlooked rules and free passes???

    September 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bud

    Illegal is Illegal!!.......This Judge is kissing the butt of Obama. He is a disgrace. He has an obligation as a jurist to see that illegal activity is corrected, and that this person (who was told to get out) be deported. She has defied the court, and remained. YOU try it..........You would probably be sent to jail and never be heard from again. I would bet the farm that Obama interceded for her. The arrogance of this person to take welfare, and make a statement that "the US MUST make her a citizen". The US must do it's duty and send this person back to Barry's homeland.....................Kenya!!

    September 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Love My Benz

    This whole story is a testatment to whey we have immigration proglems. This woman was here illegally...at sometime miracles of miracles was "legal" enough to get a social security number (ILLEGALLY!!!!) and was able to get "disability"payments. Does any of this sound as though this family is playing by the rules that Americans are supposed to play by!!! Not surprised this judge ruled......watch......there could be a new czar at any moment!

    September 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Carol Helmer

    Rather than being allowed to stay and being made a citizen, she should be expelled to Kenya. Why has it taken so long? I imagine we paid the hospital costs for her illness. How did she get disability? The whole government beauracracy needs to change–govertnment employees are really lax in handling public money!! I am outraged by all this!

    September 21, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Eliza

    Judge ... send her back!!!

    September 21, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marissa

    Shame,shame,shame on the judge, the attorneys,Onyango and the system!

    September 21, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bcc

    more favotism to keep somebody quiet so she dosn't spill the beans on his birth, she has no rason to be pushed to front of the line she is uneducated. tell her to wait in line in africa

    September 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bcc

    SEND HER BACK, WE OWE HER NOTHING MAYBE OBAMA DOES TO KEPP HER MOUTH SHUT

    September 21, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bcc

    tHIS IS THE REASON WE HAVE TERROSIM WE HAVE NO IMMIGRATION POLICYS ITS JOKE A DISGRACE AND A THREAT TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. We owe her nothing and as you see we do give illegals all kinds of money. She is a illegal and shoul;d be treated as ss. SHe has nothing to giive our socirty but sucking off it. and Obama has the gaul to say that illeglas do not get benefits WRONG. We give terrist viasa because they do not swim here, they are let in by a government that will not do there jobs they rahter go sue Arizona for doing what they should be doing. We owe you nothing babe. SEnd her back she can wait in line.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ron

    if it aint broke fix it until it is

    September 21, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. d hanke

    To all of you who talk about Europeans coming to this country I remind you that in the 20th Century all those immigrants, except for a 4 year exception during WWII, had to provide Affidavits of Support for 1 year, chest xrays, resumes, and school transcripts. Suddenly during the last 30 years we have relaxed requirements for entry into the US by design or through bureaucratic incompetence. Times had changed all right, we've reverted for absolutely no reason.

    It's like saying 200 years ago I could pee into the MIssissippi, why can't I do that now. Well, there were a few hundred or thousand people living along its shortes back then, now there are many tens of millions.

    Furthermore, assylum has a very specific definition and it doesn't include illness. It doesn't include Kennedy's pet projects either. Maybe I'll use the assylum excuse next time I pulled over for a ticket. America owes me and if the cop lets me go he's actually taking advantage of me. What utter nonsense I'm reading on this site. Guess I'll watch Tosh.O

    September 21, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. marco

    I AM SURE SOME OF YOU WHO ARE MAKING THESE COMMENTS AT ONE POINT YOUR ANCESTORS WERE GYPCIES WONDERING AROUND EUROPE'S CORIDORS BEGGING FOR FOOD AND CUTTING PEOPLE'S THROAT, BUT NOW SOME OF YOU HAVE THE ODACITY FEW GENERETIONS LATER CALLING PEOPLE THE "N" WORD AND WANT TO HAVE PEOPLE DEPORTED. ONE THING I HAVE TO SAY IS THAT THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME. SHE WOULDN'T WANT TO STAY HERE IF KENYA WAS GREAT. IT'S FUNNY HOW AMERICA IS A PLACE WHERE INFORMATION IS IN ABUNDANCE, BUT IT HAS THE MOST IGNORANTS AND IDIOTS. SOME OF YOU HERE DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO WAS AARON BURR WITHOUT GOOGLE THE NAME. ONE IS ONLY AMERICAN IF YOU COME HAVE THE LOVE TO HAVE A BETTER LIFE. THAT IS WHY WHEN THESE IMMIGRANTS COME HERE THEY PROSPER BETTER THEN SOME PIGS WHO WERE BORN AND RAISE HERE. SOME OF YOU ARE JUST SCARED BECAUSE IMMIGRANTS LOVE LIFE AND WORK MORE THAN YOU'LL EVER LOVE LIFE.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • peggy

      WE DON'T LIKE IT BECAUSE ALL THESE ELLIGALSCOMING OVER HERE AND GETTING ALL THIS FREE STUFF AND DON'T PAY FOR IT FREE HOMES ==FOOD==INS.== SS MONEY AND EVERYTHING ELSE OUR JOBS. IF YOU LOVE THEM SO MUCH YOU TAKE ALL OF THEM IN YOUR HOUSE AND LET THEM LIVE

      September 22, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. schoupieg

    Just antoher dog sucking off the system. She got so used to taking that she thinks she deserves it. Let the errant Judge who said she could stay take her into his house and let her lay around. Kick her out of this country and take her half brother with her. Looks like the OLD MAN bred many kids my many wives over his life. Thank goodness he is gone or he would still be breeding more like her and HIM

    September 22, 2010 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mary

    No one should hav special treatment regardless of who has power for illlegal people in the USA. We have laws for everyone. Dont start breaking them now. Where is this country, at. legs get things back on track and get things our way, not the gov. way. its not cool.

    September 22, 2010 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. alex

    When is breaking the law not breaking the law?

    September 22, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
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