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. steve

    Big surprise. More crap is right.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. katiwa1

    And they wonder why we get angry with government ! Did anyone think this was going to be decided any other way ? SHAME ON THAT JUDGE, SHAME ON THE GOVERNMENT AND SYSTEM THAT HAVE ALLOWED HER AND ANY ONE ELSE TO RIDE ON THE $$ OF US HARD WORKING CITIZENS.

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

      Obama has shown integrity, any other corrupt leader would have meddled in this left, center and right.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ac

    What about that.....
    Gee! What a change!

    May 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Marvin Rodriguez Espinosa Reyes deSilva

    Now a judge should rule if Barry Soetero can get legal status.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paul Aranguena

    Rules do not apply to obama, many think of him as a God

    May 17, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ac

    Oh God, why not make November = June, at least once.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bcbg

    Seriously? Or is this a joke?

    May 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. silk

    I am an Obama supporter, however being the aunt of the President should not give her any special treatment from INS. INS should treat everyone with the same standard. Of course, I know, it's not always the case. People who are rich or know people in high places always get special treatment.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Realistic

    I see stupidity has no limits on these boards. A judge ruled she can stay, thus making her not illegal but legal, duh!

    May 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • InquiringMinds

      Really? Are you saying that we should agree blindly agree with the judges ruling despite being turned down on several previous occasions? Why now all of a sudden she is exhonerated and allowed to stay. My question is what is different and why the change. She broke the law plain and simlple. What really needs to be addressed is why is that acceptable and if so, why have a law in the first place?

      May 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Postingboy

      and the years she was ILLEGAL? The gripe is that she ignored the law by staying past the allotted time, then thumbed her nose at the law by staying despite the deportation order, lived off of others hard work, then was granted citizenship where she can now be a legal citizen living off the hard work of others. I think most people are tired of being forced to slave a few hours every month to pay the living expenses of people who are in the country illegally.

      May 17, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Realistic

      @InquiringMinds: Unless you have specifics about the case and were there and know all about the laws I may agree with you. However, since you and I are not a judge, I will take the judges word. However, think about it, what good is it to be Prez if you can't your family to live in America(Not saying Obama did). If Cheney and Bush were able to help their oil friends I don't see the problem even if Obama did help his aunt. However, unless you have evidence that Obama did use his Pres. influence to assit do not spread rumors or propaganda, its unbecoming.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. okie

    Bring some more bammy kin over too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Change, change, change!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!

    May 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rose in Colorado

    what a disgrace! no wonder President Obama is against deporting illegal immingrants and is pro-amnesty. This will create a precedent about keeping illegals in this country.

    I am really disappointed about this decision. I thought that only in Latin America there was corruption, and red tape among the politicians who rule the countries.

    President Obama should be ashamed about this decision.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • TwM

      Ashamed ?? He will use this somehow to overturn the Arizona Law.

      May 17, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tami

      What does he have to be ashamed of his own family? And on top of this it's always been obvious that he wasn't and still isn't close to this aunt coupled with the fact that the White House didn't interfere with process... Obama haters you all need to go up...I mean your hatred for this man plays out in the sense that most of you have complained so much about nothing and everything that you are being sterotype as ignorant. Continue to live in your world of hate in which others think like you do...and oneday you will realize the error(s) of your way...even though it will be too late.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • serious-lee

      Tami, I believe you mean that "the Obama haters need to grow up" on top of other numerous errors in your posting. Other than that, I have to admire your faith. I mean, wow, they say they didn't interfere, so that is the absolute truth. That is some amazing faith in a very broken foundation. The White House says he isn't close to the aunt, so of course he wouldn't try to help her, and of course, he definitely wouldn't try and cover it up. Who exactly is being ignorant in this situation?

      May 17, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tom, Bradenton,FL

    Now you know why Obama is against tougher immigration laws, time to through this a hole out of the country.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. PA Squid

    Hey CG. Maybe before you assail people you should open a dictionary or at least have some idea what you are referring to. The liberals love your kind!!!


    May 17, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JCinSC

    This case show Obama has a conflict of interest in regard to benefits being given to immigrants here illegally. If he were to honor his legal responsibility due to the conflict of interest he should refrain completely from making statements that support new legislation.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. cj

    I think we should let all of those that we kicked out because they were here illegally. Why not Judge Shapiro, you just set precedent.

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