Posted on June 5, 2009

Obama’s Aunt Might (Or Might Not) Return to Kenya

Ted Bridis, AP, June 4, 2009

President Barack Obama’s aunt who is fighting to remain in the U.S. says she might or might not be heading to Kenya before her next deportation hearing. Such a trip could affect her immigration case.

Zeituni Onyango (zay-TUH’-nee awn-YAHN’-goh) has been living illegally in the U.S. for years. She told the Boston Globe on Wednesday that she would return to Kenya as soon as that evening, but then said she wasn’t going. Even if she did leave, she said she planned to be in Boston for her immigration hearing on Feb. 4.


If a person has an application or a petition for a benefit such as asylum, and that person leaves the country without notifying the federal government, the person is effectively abandoning the petition, a homeland security official told The Associated Press. {snip}


In April, a U.S. immigration judge in Boston set Onyango’s case to be heard Feb. 4, giving her until at least next year to make her bid for asylum from her native Kenya. Onyango, 56, first applied for asylum in 2002, but her request was rejected and she was ordered deported in 2004. She did not leave the country and continued to live in public housing in Boston.

Obama has said he did not know his aunt was living here illegally and believes laws covering the situation should be followed.