Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Friends (Relatives) In High Places!

The whole world is corrupt, pretty much. This from the Guardian -

Barack Obama's aunt has been granted asylum after living illegally in the US, to the frustration of the president's rightwing critics who say that undocumented immigrants are flooding the country.

Zeituni Onyango, 57, lives in Boston and is the half-sister of Obama's father. She moved to America 10 years ago on a valid visa. Two years later she applied for asylum, but was rejected and ordered to leave in 2004. However, she overstayed her visa and remained in the country illegally until she won a new hearing.

Her most recent asylum case was brought on the grounds that she might be in danger if she returned to Kenya because of political and ethnic violence, and because she is related to the US president. She also sought to remain because she is suffering from an autoimmune disorder.

Her lawyer, Scott Bratton, declined to say on what grounds the immigration court had granted her the right to remain in the US indefinitely. "The asylum process is confidential and she wants to keep it that way, so we can't get into details on why the judge granted asylum, or the exact basis for her claim," he said.

In his memoir, Dreams From My Father, Obama speaks affectionately of "Auntie Zeituni", who helped him understand his family's history during a visit to Kenya in 1988. But Obama said he did not know his aunt was in the US until it was revealed by the press before the 2008 presidential election. He said he would not intervene in the case. "Any and all appropriate laws" would be followed, he said then.

That has not stopped the president's critics from suggesting he has somehow influenced the process. The rightwing Fox News commentator Glenn Beck has called for Onyango to be deported.

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