Barack Obama - Aunt Zeituni

Last Updated : Jun 07, 2010


President Obama's aunt has been living in the United States illegally since 2000.  It was discovered in 2008 that she was living in public housing in Boston.  In 2010, she was granted asylum and allowed to stay in the United States


Illegally in the US

On October 31, 2008, the Associated Press reported that Barack Obama's aunt, a Kenyan woman who has been quietly living in public housing in Boston, is in the United States illegally after an immigration judge rejected her request for asylum four years ago.  According to the article, Zeituni Onyango, 56, is the same  "Aunti Zeituni" that was mentioned in Obama's memoir.  She was instructed to leave the United States by a U.S. immigration judge who denied her asylum request in 2004.

It is not clear how someone living illegally in the country with a standing deportation order was able to get public housing. 

According to multiple sources, Ms Onyango came to the US at Obama's request nine years ago on a tourist visa.  After visting him in Chicago, she left to visit friends "on the east coast" and apparently never left the US.

Senator (at the time) Obama stated that he had no idea she was living in the US illegally and did not assist in getting her visa.

This same Aunt was present at Senator Obama's swearing in ceremony and at the Presidential Inauguration. 


Donation to President Obama's campaign

An additional element of illegality was added when it was discovered that Ms. Onyango had apparently donated roughly $260 dollars to Senator Obama's Presidential Campaign.  US law states that only US citizens may donate money to a campaign, and it is up to the candidate to verify the donations.


Granted asylum

In February of 2010, Mrs Onyango testified at a closed hearing and asked for asylum.  Although the reason for the request for asylum was not made public, her home nation of Kenya and the cycles of violence which accompany elections are thought to be reasons for the petition.  One of her lawyers stated that :

 Mrs Onyango was granted asylum in May of 2010 and plans to apply for a green card to stay permanently.


[1] Website: AP - Breitbart Article: AP: Obama aunt from Kenya living in US illegally Author: EILEEN SULLIVAN and ELLIOT SPAGAT Accessed on: 06/09/2009

[2] Website: Times Online Article: Barack Obama's 'Auntie Zeituni' made illegal contributions to his campaign Author: James Bone Accessed on: 06/09/2009

[3] Website: The Telegraph Article: Barack Obama's aunt granted asylum in the US Author: NA Accessed on: 06/07/2010

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