President Barack Obama’s paternal aunt Zeituni Onyango, who is a citizen of Kenya and was living in the United States illegally, has been granted political asylum by a court in Boston.
The court accepted Onyango’s argument that she feared violence—she and Obama’s father, who was her half-brother, were members of the Luo tribe, a minority in Kenya—if she returned to that country. The ruling opens the way for her to apply for legal permanent residency in a year, according to The Boston Globe.
However, the court’s decision has angered immigration reform proponents, including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The organization called it "a case study in how those seeking to evade U.S. immigration laws can manipulate the system," and demanded that the entire record of the case be made public.
FAIR representatives were particularly angered at the fact that Onyango was granted the asylum despite having her 2004 petition denied by a Federal immigration court, a ruling she ignored.
"[The] case is an all-too-typical example of how our asylum laws are used to thwart the enforcement [of] U.S. immigration laws," said Dan Stein, president of FAIR, adding that "the system allows people who defy our laws repeated opportunities to [come up with] new reasons to be granted legal permission to remain."