WASHINGTON, November 3 – Democrat Barack Obama suggested in a television interview to be broadcast Monday that his Boston-based Kenyan aunt, who was found to be living illegally in the United States, should be deported if she broke the law.
CBS News released an advance transcript of the interview late Sunday.
"If she is violating laws, those laws have to be obeyed," Obama told CBS when asked if he would support deporting his late father’s sister, Zeituni Onyango, to Kenya.
News that Oyanango, 56, was living illegally in the north-eastern city of Boston broke Friday, just days before Tuesday’s presidential election which Obama faces off against Republican John McCain.
"We’re a nation of laws," Obama said in the CBS interview.
"Obviously that doesn’t lessen my concern for her, I haven’t been able to be in touch with her. But I’m a strong believer you have to obey the law," he said.
Aides said that Obama, 47, had not been in touch with his aunt since his Senate inauguration ceremony in 2004.
Obama’s aides questioned the timing of the leak, and said the campaign was returning 265 dollars that Onyango donated to her nephew’s White House bid. Foreigners who are not US residents cannot donate money to US political campaigns.
Onyango, part of an extended family on Obama’s father’s side spread across Kenya, the United States and Europe, lives in Boston even though an immigration judge reportedly rejected her asylum request four years ago.