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. TwM

    Big Surprise?
    Whats next Obama appointing Bin Laden Czar of Terrorists?

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

      @Tw...Get a life and no Obama is not going to hire Bin Laden, Dick Cheney has already hired him, he is working for Hellburton as an adviser on how to screw americans out of billions while doing nothing and how to build safety valves for offshore drilling platforms.

      May 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Corey

    How much did Obama pay under the table to make this happen?

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

      on telling how much he payed for her

      September 22, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jessica

    Congratulations...and God bless the Judge...!!!

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

      Yes Obama the self proclaimed reincarnation of the savior will bless this judge: The one true God is marking down yet another strike against the President.

      May 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DownTownBrown

    How many here are Judges? None? Okay then shuttup!

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

      Are you aware that Obama's latest Supreme Court nominee, Kagan, has never been a judge?

      May 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dt

    utter bs

    May 17, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lewy

    "White House officials said during the appeals that Obama was staying out of the matter." Ah, yeah, right.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RainyAlaska

    After being denied through several appeals, why did she get legal status now? The article really didn't give us any details. She's been living in this country illegally (which is a crime) for years and now she can stay? I think I'll rob a bank, hide out for a few years and then have a judge rule that everything is OK and now I'm not a criminal.

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

      RainyAlaska: No she was not here illegal, read the law. As long as you are appealing you are allowed to stay. She did not run out of her appeals, this was I think her last one. You can stay as long as you have appeals left and if you and others don't like the law, call your senators, congressman and change the law. Until than, making stuff up does not make it factual. Unfortunate, this country can be very lax on immigration laws but complaining wont change a thing. Lets form a *immigration enforcement party* and we can name our party the *Tequila Party for immigration enforcement* We will put Tequila bottles on our hats and go marching to Washington. We can have signs that say " America for Americans unless we need illegal farm workers for cheap labor* And also signs with Obama and both parties senators and congressman wearing sombreros. I think a picture of Boener would be good start wearing one. And maybe have a picture Pelosi with a gun belt across her shoulder, smoking a cigar with a Mexican flag lapel. And why stop there, we could also have a picture a Rommys house and his Mexican lawn mower boy on it. And for our hero, we have a large picture state of AZ and some AZ sheriffs booting out some illegal across the AZ/Mexican border. Yeah sounds great... *Tequila Party for immigration enforcement****(being sarcastic people).>watch someone steal my

      May 17, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. demmieKrat

    mmm mmm Barrack Hussein Obama! – He pulls strings to get thing done! MMM mmm MMM

    May 17, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. noname

    hahah... this must be where all the people looking to spread their hate go.... all the fingerpointing idiots who don't take the time to figure out whats wrong with themselves so they use their time to focus on what they can find wrong with others.

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

      Right, how dare people get angry when they learn a person who defied a legal order to leave the country and spent years living off of the taxpayers sweat is rewarded with citizenship in a process that was strongly influenced by her nephew, the president.

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

    Wow, this is news up there with "dog bites man" or "sun came up in the east this morning"... did anyone really think this woman, here illegally, would be deported? I mean, how is it she has been here so long in the first place...duh...

    It would be nice if the Obama's put her up at the White House, paid her past taxes and all expenses. Of course, it would also be nice if the President would do his job and enforce the immigration laws so Arizona wouldn't have to pass their own version of Federal Law; you know, like the one that says (since the 1950's) that immigrants have to carry identification on them at all times.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ac

    The WH statement, " The President believe that the case should run its ordinary curse."
    LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL..........."...its ordinary curse" they said.........LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

    May 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jon

    Who cares? I don't. Here is something to think about. If every home owner planted one food bearing tree native to their area, we would end hunger in this country. This is an attainable goal within the next 20 years. Spread the word. YOU CAN make a difference in the world.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DNA

    Congratulations to you all on finding something to get angry about that doesn't even affect you at all !
    I hope the high blood pressure does it's magic soon...

    May 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Postingboy

      Every person who pays taxes has a right to be angry. A person living in our land illegally spent years living off of public funds. Do you understand that people are being forced to pay for criminals' living expenses? Try doing a little calculation as to how many hours each month you are slaving (no money in your pocket) to pay for illegal immigrants to live here. Also factor in how many American's can't benefit from low-income programs because all of the money has been spent....with some of the recepients being illegals. It should make you very angry. If it doesn't, you aren't comprehending the severity of the problem.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. marcia

    Why does she get to stay??
    Just because she's related to Obama???
    Nice...really nice.....and reallly really fair.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dopeandnochange

    This is unbelievable. Where is Auntie Zeituni going to stay now? The White House?

    May 17, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
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