Mithras Law Group Immigration Blog

Global Immigration and Business Solutions

President Obama’s Aunt Granted Asylum

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President Obama’s aunt, who is the half-sister of the President’s late father, Zeituni Onyango, came to the United States in 2000 seeking a better life and applied for political asylum in 2002, but was rejected in 2004 and ordered to leave the United States. Onyango remained undetected until the presidential election when she was found living illegally in Boston. Onyango filed a petition to reopen her asylum case and she was granted asylum last week in Boston by Judge Leonard I. Shapiro, on the grounds that she feared tribal violence and health risk if she were forced to return to her home country Kenya. (Click here for the earlier article where our attorney, Hanishi T. Ali, was interviewed by AP).

Asylum seekers must show that they will face persecution if forced to return to their home country on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a social group – which is a difficult standard to meet.

Onyango lawyers successfully argued that Onyango, 57, was a member of a minority tribe, the Luo Tribe, in Kenya and that she would face persecution if forced to return to Kenya. In addition, Onyango’s lawyers asked to for her to remain in the United States for health reasons as Onyango suffers from an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Onyango is now entitled to work and to apply for legal permanent residency in a year and US citizenship after five years.


Written by MithrasLaw

May 25, 2010 at 11:17 am

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