Fifty years after coming to the United States, the half brother of President Obama’s father was finally granted a permanent resident status. Onyango Obama appeared before Judge Leonard Shapiro for a hearing on whether he could qualify in a federal immigration law that allows immigrants currently living in the United States since before 1972 to apply for a green card.
Obama’s uncle first came to the United States in 1963 on a student visa. He became an illegal immigrant when his visa expired in 1970. In 1992, a deportatation order was issued against him, but he ignored said order and continued to stay in the country. His illegal status remained undetected until his arrest in 2011 for drunk driving in Framingham, Massachusetts where he allegedly bragged about his White House connection. He denied saying this to the arresting officers.
During the hearing, his lawyer, Margaret Wong asked him whether he had relatives living in the United States. He replied that he had a nephew, two nieces and a sister. Probed further, he revealed that the nephew he referred to is President Barack Obama himself. But, Wong maintains that his powerful connections did not help his cause. In fact, it placed his applications under a microscope and delayed the case further. The 69-year old Onyango works as a manager of a liquor store.
According to another immigration lawyer, President Obama’s was given permanent resident status mainly because he qualified under the law and not because of his connections. Onyango only had to prove was that he has been in the country since 1972 or earlier and that he has behaved himself since then. This was confirmed by the judge who said that Obama was a gentleman and a good taxpayer, and thus his petition was granted.
Three years earlier, the same judge also granted an asylum to Obama’s aunt, Zeutuni Onyango, who was also staying in the country illegally.