From the New York Times:
BOSTON — An immigration judge has granted asylum to President Obama’s aunt and will allow her to stay in the United States, her lawyers said Monday. She could become a citizen in about six years.
Zeituni Onyango, 57, who lives in public housing in Boston, is the half-sister of Mr. Obama’s late father and is from Kenya. She moved to the United States in 2000 on a valid visa and has been seeking asylum since 2002.
Judge Leonard Shapiro, an immigration judge in Boston, reached his decision in the long-running case on Friday. Her lawyers announced the decision Monday at their offices in Cleveland.
Ms. Onyango applied for asylum in 2002 and was rejected in 2004 and ordered to leave the country. She continued to fight the case and in April 2009, Judge Leonard Shapiro in Boston stayed her case until February, when hearings were held in the case.
Ms. Onyango had lived in relative anonymity in Boston until just before the 2008 presidential election, when The Times of London found her in what it described as “rundown public housing.”
At the time, Mr. Obama’s aides said that he did not know his aunt was in the United States illegally and that “any and all appropriate laws” covering her situation should be followed. The aides said he would not intervene in her case and that the two had had no contact.
It turned out that Ms. Onyango made small contributions to Mr. Obama’s campaign, amounting to $265, but the campaign returned them. She attended Mr. Obama’s inauguration in January in Washington but the two did not see each other.
The immigration courts have an extensive backlog, and her case was being watched closely to see if it might be expedited.
Mr. Obama wrote about his aunt in his 1995 memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” because she served as his guide in Kenya — and his guide to some painful family history — during his visit in 1988. She said that Mr. Obama’s father, who died in a car crash in 1982, took her in when her husband became abusive and she had no money.
In seeking asylum for Ms. Onyango, Ms. Wong has argued all along that if she were forced to return to Kenya, she would face undue attention and perhaps danger because her nephew was so famous; in order to be granted asylum, people must show that they would face persecution in their home countries.