Sun 2 Nov, 2008
Tags: Barack Obama, Presidential election
It has now been confirmed that Senator Obama’s Aunt Zeituni is living in public housing here in Boston, and that she was ordered to leave the country four years ago.
Reports circulating in Boston for days have said that Zeituni Onyango, who lives in a public housing complex in South Boston amid copious Obama memorabilia, is the “Auntie Zeituni” whom Obama met in Kenya in 1988 and mentioned in his 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father.
On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Onyango had actually been ordered to leave the United States in 2004, citing unnamed sources including a federal law enforcement official. While she appears to have entered the U.S. legally, she later was denied political asylum and was ordered deported.
Both campaigns agree that this should not a political issue affecting the presidential race, as this is “a family matter” (according to a McCain advisor) and that, according to the Obama campaign, the senator was not involved in her situation, did not know of her status in this country, and had not heard from her in about two years.
Despite what some pundits have suggested, it is not a crime to stay in the country longer than the law allows. This is an administrative, not a criminal, matter.
Nevertheless, it has been suggested that the leak of Onyango’s immigration status, just days before the election, could have been politically motivated. The Department of Homeland Security has launched an investigation into whether federal privacy laws were violated in the leaking of information about Zeitung, and particularly about her asylum case.