Zeituni to block her deportation

February 4, 2010 12:00 am

, NEW YORK, Feb 4 – President Barack Obama\’s aunt, an illegal immigrant who has cared for his siblings, will fight in federal immigration court Thursday to avoid deportation, the Boston Herald reported.

Zeituni Onyango, 57, was expected in Boston federal immigration court to make her second attempt to be allowed to remain in the United States after she ignored a 2004 deportation order to be sent back to her native Kenya.

"She\’s the aunt of the president of the United States — the most famous man in the world," Mike Rogers, spokesman for the Ohio law firm defending Onyango, told the Herald.

The hearing before Immigration Court Judge Leonard Shapiro is closed to the public, in accordance with Onyango\’s request.

"The immigration judge will hear the merits of the case from both parties," said Lauren Alder Reid of the US Department of Justice\’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, which speaks for the court. "The judge may make a ruling from the bench, but there\’s no guarantee."

Rogers said Onyango was not trying to "capitalize" on favoritism as a member of the president\’s family. She is the half-sister of Obama\’s late Kenyan father.

"Everyone knows she\’s related to him," Rogers said. "It\’s a no-win situation for him. He can\’t get involved in this. The law has got to run its course."

Reports about her life as an illegal immigrant in the United States emerged just days before Obama was elected in November 2008. The White House has said the president was unaware of her illegal status and that the appropriate laws should be followed.

Onyango, who currently lives in a South Boston housing development, first applied for political asylum in 2002 citing violence in Kenya. Her request was denied two years later.


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