Obama’s Aunt Granted Asylum

President Obama’s aunt (his father’s half-sister), Zeituni Onyango, was granted asylum on her third attempt due to a former Bush Administration official’s leak of the news of her application during the presidential campaign. While some speculate she received special treatment, it appears more likely that the Immigration Judge, a Republican appointee, agreed with her lawyers’ assertions that the heightened media scrutiny in her case put her at increased risk of future persecution. “Shapiro agreed with Onyango’s assertion that she had been singled out for publicity and, unlike her relatives in Kenya, would be a “target.’’ He also outlined “serious interethnic conflict’’ that had consumed Kenya in recent years and resulted in hundreds of deaths. She belongs to the minority Luo ethnic group and said that she feared for her life if she had to return to Kenya.” Ms. Onyango lives in Boston in public housing. Although she may now reside in public housing due to her grant of asylum, she has been criticized for residing in another public housing project prior to the grant.

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