President Obama's Kenyan Aunt: Immigration Case Closed

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Flickr photo by Tim Pearce, Los Gatos
After a six-year battle over her legal status, an immigration judge has ruled that President Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango (the half-sister of his late father), will be given legal status to remain in the United States.

Onyango, 57, moved to the US in 2000 on a temporary visa and applied for political asylum in 2002 because of the violence in Kenya.

Her asylum request was turned down in 2004, and she was ordered to leave the country. She's been living in the United States illegally since then.
Her attorney said in February she was seeking asylum because she suffers from Guillain-Barre syndrome (an autoimmune disorder) and the still-present threats of tribal violence in Kenya.

The public first became aware of Onyango's illegal immigrant status just days before the 2008 presidential election. Obama said he didn't know his aunt was living here illegally.

Immigration Judge Leonard I. Shapiro granted her plea for asylum on Friday after a closed-door hearing.

The Boston Globe spoke to Onyango by phone, and she said only, "I'm tired."

During the appeals process, White House officials said that Obama was staying out of the matter: "The President believes that the case should run its ordinary course."


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