Obama's uncle, a Kenyan-born citizen who is the half-brother of Barack Obama’s father, was issued a deportation order over two decades ago, but ignored the government directive. On Tuesday, 69-year-old Onyango Obama was granted permission to stay in the United States, reports Yahoo! News on Tuesday.
Judge Leonard Shapiro handed down the decision after Onyango proved his worth in court proceedings and testimony, stating he has lived in the states for 50 years, contributed to society as an employed worker and paid all taxes due of him.
When asked about his family life, Onyango stated he has a sister and two nieces that live here in the U.S., and then added, “I do have a nephew.” His lawyers then asked him to name the nephew, to which he said, “Barack Obama,” then added coyly, “He’s the president of the United States.”
Onyango testified he has lived in the U.S. since 1963 after entering the country legally with a student visa. In the 1980s, the uncle to the eventual president had a series of immigration hearings, and in 1992 he was ordered to leave the country. He never complied.
Judge Shapiro, in announcing his decision, cited a law that entitles immigrants who are “out of status” to be granted permission to remain in the U.S. under a grandfathered rule. Those who arrived prior to 1972 may be allowed to maintain their residency if they have been “continuous residents and are of good moral character.”
The only strike against Onyango was a 2011 drunk-driving violation and arrest in Framingham. Ironically, his immigration status, unknown prior to that incident, became headline news after Onyango allegedly told the arresting official: “I think I will call the White House.”
Onyango said he could not recall if he said that, but the DWI charge was dismissed after he completed a year of probation and 14 weeks of alcohol education classes.
“Mr. Judge, America is a land of opportunities, a land of chances,” he said in a thick accent during his testimony, adding that President Obama stayed with him for three weeks in Cambridge while the president was a student at Harvard Law School.
Onyango Obama’s Cleveland-based immigration attorney, Margaret Wong, called the elder Obama a “wonderful older gentleman.”
“He has earned his privilege to stay in the United States. He has been here for 50 years,” she said.
“He appears to me to be a gentleman,” Judge Shapiro said.