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. DownTownBrown

    To all the people whining about this: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!
    Keep crying, seriously. Keep crying. Your tears lubricate my happiness

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

      LOL. I wish there was a like button.

      May 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ni6180

      I think we should deport her butt and any other illegal period.go Arizona.Wetbackls muslim terroirst , or any perosn that thinks that allah the great child molester is a god.

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

    From ABC report:
    Onyango first applied for asylum in 2002 "due to violence in Kenya," but was denied and ordered to leave the country.

    Instead of returning home, the woman who helped raise the president's half brothers and sister in Kenya and whom Obama affectionately referred to as "Auntie Zeituni" in his memoir has remained illegally in Boston, living in subsidized public housing.

    And you wonder why obama is against the new Arizona law?

    May 17, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • ni6180

      NO I understand why he is againest it. HIm and the democrats have no idea what ILLEGAL MEANS. A mazing that all these smart college people still have no clue . Obama should do what is right and pass a law to keep illegals out and build a fence what ever it takes . And if you are here illegal you should be deported period.

      May 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DE


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

    Now that this has been settled the next steps is get her to the WH for a beer.....LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    No, no......let her have the Lincon room.......lolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll.....and then the beer...LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

    May 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim

    This is the reason that this nation has to enforce immigration laws. The democrats with their bleeding hearts are the reason this nation has serious financial problems. We have so many people coming here illegally and sponging off of the taxpayers. November will hopefully resolve this when voters get rid of open borders supporters (democrats). NO AMNESTY FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS. Deport them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

      Your country was in financial crysis before the democrats were in power. Please remember that you big idiot.

      May 17, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |

    everyone needs to remember everyone in america are from immigrant except the native indians, one generation or another. this country is made up of immigrants right?

    May 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ni6180

      Yes But not illegal ones. Wake Up America

      May 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Postingboy

      Every country on the planet has rules designed to control immigration. Are you suggesting that America should be the exception? Do you not understand the need for a process in order to become a citizen? Do you really believe it is just that a citizen of another country can demand to be financially supported by Americans? Put some thought into your argument before you reply....

      May 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. David from Long Beach

    If any of you actually read the story, she applied for political asylum in 2002, well before her nephew became president. Your ignorance makes me sick.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Interesting

      Illegal is still illegal ...

      May 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ni6180

      David You are a idiot . There 2 reasons it was granted .ONe she is related to the president of united states,that was expected.The 2nd is more troubling , Persident Obama and the Liberals so not understan what illegal is.

      May 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. WindyCity Bill

    I am glad to see that Obama is staying out of this – George Bush would have bombed Kenya by now.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ni6180

      Yes you are right Obama is a wimp that supports terrorist and illegals George Bush would not have supported either.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ken

    gee is anyone surprised? ONLY thing that did suprise me was that the Obamination did NOT stick his nose and big ears into it.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kamal

      get a life!

      May 17, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. terry in dallas

    Sure, Why not, we let all the illegals stay here.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Interesting

    Did anyone really think they would do the right LEGAL thing? This country has gone down the toilet...what a joke.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • DownTownBrown

      You're right. Once the black people come it's all over! OH NOES RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

      May 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. 1stBlackPrez:)

    Of course she can stay! He nephew is the President you fools!!! She connected...your NOT! hahaha

    May 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. zephyrwinds

    There are a million stories like this and billions of dollars spent. We kept her up, paid her legal bill and helped her live. God forbid the President didn't take care of his own.
    The fella named Richard seems to be hung up on rednecks which is confusing. Rednecks aren't a problem on welfare, so, I must presume Richard is on it and probably an illegal the way he is protesting. Kind of funny.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kamal

    Y'all are soooo cynical. Why not find out the judges reasons before unleashing such vitriol?? I'm pretty sure she met all the criteria required for legal asylum. Most of you are probably just selfish uneducated rednecks so I'm not surprised. The spirits have not forgotten what you did to the native americans so don't get too comfy just yet.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Leko

    That proves how fair the system is. 2002? Doesn't it look like a reform is needed to take care specially of those that don't have a president as part of the family? Normal hard working decent people get their process stuck and when it moves gets stuck in some stupid requirement that won't prove anything.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
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