Obama’s Illegal Immigrant Uncle Might Be Getting Special Treatment

Onyango Obama arrest 2011
Onyango Obama in 2011.

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After being ordered to leave the United States 20 years ago, Onyango Obama, the Kenyan-born half-brother of President Obama’s father, has been granted a new deportation hearing and now has a second chance to stay in the country.”Last week, the Board of ­Immigration Appeals granted Onyango Obama’s request to ­reopen his immigration case based in part on his contention that his prior lawyer was ­ineffective, according to a government official with direct knowledge of the case,” reports the Boston Globe‘s Maria Sacchetti, and on Tuesday an appeals board ordered a review of his case.

“The Board of Immigration Appeals has sent Obama’s case to the Executive Office for Immigration Review for reassessment, ” reported the AP, gleaning information from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Brian Hale. 

So there’s that. Of course the big question is if being related to the president helps your deportation case. As Sacchetti points out, this isn’t the first Obama to face deportation. 

The president’s aunt Zeituni Onyango was discovered in Boston’s public housing in violation of a depor­tation order just before the president won election in 2008. She won asylum in 2010 based in part on the exposure of her case to the public.

And critics of Onyango believe he’s getting special treatment. Sacchetti points out that Onyango was released from immigration detention and obtained a federal work permit and a state hardship driver’s licence — materials that critics insist other immigrants who aren’t related to the president aren’t able to get. 

The other reason Onyango became one of the more public figures in the distant first family was his arrest in the summer of 2011 for drunk driving in Framingham, Massachusetts, after which he jokingly told officers, “I think I will call the White House.” According to Onyango’s lawyer, Onyango was not in touch with the White House. 

“The White House said it expected his arrest to be handled like any other,” reported the AP.