Obama’s Aunt in U.S. Illegally
Ross Perot famously had a crazy aunt in the basement. Barack Obama, it seems, has an illegal one in living in the Boston projects.
Barack Obama did not know a relative was living in the United States illegally for the past nearly four years prior to today’s Associated Press report, “but obviously believes that any and all appropriate laws be followed,” the campaign said Saturday in a statement.
The Democratic nominee last heard from Zeituni Onyango, who attended his swearing-in ceremony to the U.S. Senate in 2005 and is a half-sister of Obama’s late father, two years ago, when she called to say she was in Boston, the campaign said. Campaign officials said they did not assist her in getting a tourist visa and had not known that she was living in America.
News of Onyango’s legal status, which the AP confirmed through sources, including a federal law enforcement official, provided an unwelcome diversion for the Obama campaign during its final push toward Election Day and stoked suspicions among supporters of a political motive behind the timing of the leak.
“The American people are pretty sensible,” said Obama chief strategist David Axelrod, “and I think they are pretty suspicious of things that are dumped in the marketplace 72 hours before a campaign, so I am not concerned about that.” Asked whether he was suggesting there were political motives from a Republican administration, Axelrod said: “I am not saying anything at this point.”
John McCain seems to be staying far away from the issue, making no mention of Obama’s family in his two Virginia appearances this morning. His press aides have also remained quiet, issuing no statement about her immigration status.
The Associated Press reported that Onyango had been instructed to leave the country four years ago by an immigration judge who rejected her request for asylum from her native Kenya. Onyango is living in public housing in Boston.
Onyago is quite literally a distant relative, the half sister of an absent father until recently living in Kenya whom he first met as an adult and has only occasional contact since. There’s been zero evidence — indeed, zero suggestion — that Obama knew she was in the country illegally, let alone did anything to hide her status.
Two questions come to mind, though.
First, how the heck is someone who has been ordered deported by a federal judge living in public housing four years later?! Don’t we cross-reference lists? Indeed, why are non-citizens living in public housing?
Second, how did this information come out now?
Federal privacy law restricts U.S. immigration agencies from disclosing information about citizens and permanent residents, and DHS policy similarly limits disclosures about the status of legal and illegal immigrants. Asylum-seekers are granted greater protection, because of the sensitive nature of their claims and the risks of retaliation.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the matter has been referred to the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility and its parent department’s inspector general. “They are looking into whether there was a violation of policy in publicly disclosing individual case information,” ICE spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said. “We can’t comment on individual cases.”
While some even on the reasonable Left are dubbing this a smear and claiming Republican dirty tricks, Team McCain is taking the high road on this one:
Mark Salter, a McCain adviser, called the issue “a family matter.”
And only tangentially that for Obama. Michelle Malkin, interestingly, disagrees.
It’s the Bush administration that has moved to protect Aunti Zeituni. It’s the pro-shamnesty Bush administration that will ensure that nothing happens to her. Pro-shamnesty McCain isn’t going to touch the story.
By the way: Where in the world is Aunti Zeituni? Who knows? And if it wasn’t Barack Obama who helped her get here, who did? How did she get a Social Security card? Who advised her to apply for public housing? Who did she know with a saavy enough legal background to help her navigate the paperwork of the welfare state?
Given the size of both the welfare rolls and the illegal alien population, Obama’s been a busy man, indeed, if he’s advising all of them. Somehow, I’m guessing that it’s not all that hard.
Perhaps she took her guidance from the old Genesis song, all the while ignoring the fact that it’s no fun being an illegal alien?