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. cg

    Are any of you biggets a judge, I didn't think so.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hellon In Houston

      First of all, it's spelled BIGOT! Second, wanting people to obey the law does not make one a bigot or a "redneck". If the illegal immigration law can be ignored for certain classes, then the KKK will challenege other laws that they don't want to obey, etc. etc. etc. If you make allowances for One group you have to make allowances for ALL group.
      Do you REALLY want for that to happen??

      May 17, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    Has obama anything to do with this decision ?

    May 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Bigget? You are in need of an education my friend. Please refrain from protesting in the United States until you receive one!!!!!

      May 17, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • illegal

      yea cause the US is filled with scholars...shut up and gimme a break

      September 22, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. fred

    Details please! Why does this happen? Why should'nt a President testify at a trial for the former Illinois Governor?
    Sometimes the Laws are weighted to power positions.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Upset US Citizen

    Wasn't she given a deportation order several years ago? She should have been deported then, but NOOOO her nephew is now the president and we can't go enforcing laws that upset him!

    May 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      You're obviously an idiot and have no idea how the immigration or appeals process works in this country. This is how the process works. If Obama would of had a hand in it he could of just given her citizenship.

      I can't believe how stupid people can be sometimes.

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

    Why? Preferential treatment? Kind of opens the door doesn't it?

    May 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. George Mead

    The fix is in.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Scott

    queue the red team and birther rhetoric

    May 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. demmieKrat

    why?! for what reason?! b/c she's been here illegally for years? b/c she is the prez's aunt? sad.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rob

    All BS !!

    Ilegally herel IS Illegal !! no matter who your related to or how long you've been cheating the system and/or the rest of the imagrants that made it here going through the correct and legal process.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • DownTownBrown

      You're a sad, sad, sad man. You ever speed? Every drop garbage on the ground? THATS ILLEGAL AND YOU NEED TO BE SHOT!!! ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL AMIRITE?

      May 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • serious-lee

      DOWNTOWNBROWN, "you know what you need to do? Calm. Right. Down. Ten deep breaths, the conservatives aren't gonna take your land or whatever you're freaking out about this week."

      May 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hellon In Houston

      To Downtown Brown ( gee, that's original):

      This discussion has nothing to do with race. It's about law. And it's about FEDERAL law. Not some minor civil violation. If exceptions are made for some people and not others, then there will be a revolt. Maybe I don't like the Federal Law that states that I have to pay income tax. If I get away with not paying it (for whatever reason) a lot of other people are not going to want to pay their taxes. How do you allow everyone not to pay their taxes or explain to them why I don't have to pay mine, but you do?

      May 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Indy500

      That's your analogy? Speeding and littering? What happens when your caught speeding? Thats right, you get a ticket. What happens when your caught littering? Thats right, you receive a citation and fine. Whats happens when your caught living in the United States as an illegal? Well, unless your the Aunt of Barack Obama, you get deported.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. troy thompson

    Amazing what can happen once your president..A miracle!!!1 6 years fighting and all the sudden she is allowed to stay,,,thank god Obama isn t fromthe middle east or they would be letting more of those dam terrorist come into our country..its bad enough now that they are trying to get bombs on planes again through sneakers and devices in sneakers on dry runs and the government beleives them when they say they had NO IDEA it was in there and lets them go to get it right the next time.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ananymous

      Your existence is sad. This country wouldn't have been what it is had it not been for the brains coming from the middle east. Stupid people like you should get thrown out.

      May 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • serious-lee

      Stupid FAIL!! Learn to spell "ANANYMOUS", then talk about someone being stupid! Although, you do make a good point, stupid people who can't even spell should be kicked out of the country. I vote you first!

      May 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sharon

    OMG, I am in shock!...ha...ha...of course she can stay...she is the President's aunt...she would be a target if she were ever sent home...and don't worry about the welfare payments, etc...I am sure someone will ghost write her story and sell millions worth of she will probably take care of herself without anyone's assistance.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dove

    Nazi Zona? Nazi's cause they want illegal immigrants to stop breaking their system. Good logic!

    May 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • DownTownBrown

      Nazi's said the same things about burning Jews to death, good work!

      May 17, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • uhmm

      Comparing asking for citizenship burning millions of people alive. You are a prime example of blatant retardation. When a mexican shows up in an oven in Arizona.... then you might have a logical comparison. Asking for proof of citizenship is no different than asking for proof of insurance, or proof of a driver's license. When you apply for a job you have to (or are supposed to) prove citizenship. Arizona isn't doing anything wrong.

      May 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Love

    Love is what we need.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. okie

    GREAT!!! Give here a new house, Cadillac, a fat check every month, food stamps, bamacare and 17 illegals to take care of her!!! FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!! I LOVE all this CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!

    May 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • smdh

      who gets all of that??? your a fool who for some reason loves to be racist!

      May 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • peggy


      September 22, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. redinmass

    Break the law, she gets to stay. Typical of the Obama administration. Stand up for law breakers, tax the law abiding citizens. Enough already...

    May 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
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