A Kenyan woman living in Boston’s public housing has been there four years after being instructed to leave the United States by a U.S. immigration judge. This wouldn’t be big news except for the fact that Zeituni Onyango is the aunt of Barack Obama.
Because of the nature of U.S. immigration law the details on why the woman that Obama referred to in his memoir as ‘Aunti Zeituni’ was denied asylum cannot be disclosed. It is known that her case was rejected in 2004. Late on Friday the Associated Press was told of the matter on condition of anonymity. It is not known if anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or the McCain campaign has been involved in this information.
Onyango’s refusal to return to Kenya is a noncriminal violation of immigration law handled outside of the criminal court system. It is believed that 10 million other immigrants are living in the U.S. under the same status.
The Obama campaign declined to comment late Friday night.
Onyango is not a person that Obama has decided during any of his campaigning appearances.
The Associated Press reports:
Onyango’s case — coming to light just days before the presidential election — led to an unusual nationwide directive within Immigrations and Customs Enforcement requiring that any deportations before Tuesday’s election be approved at least at the level of the agency’s regional directors, the U.S. law enforcement official told the AP.
It is believed that the sensitive political implications of this case are behind the unusual directive. The disclosure about this case came into light just one day after the Obama’s presidential campaign confirmed to the Times of London that Onyango was Obama’s half aunt on his father’s side.