Obama's aunt Zeituni Onyango granted asylum

Barack Obama's aunt Zeituni Onyango and the public housing development where she had been residing on Flaherty Way on November 2, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. FILE | NATION

An aunt of US President Barack Obama has been given permission to remain in America after applying for political asylum a second time, her lawyers say.

Zeituni Onyango, a Kenyan half-sister of Mr Obama's late father, continued to live in public housing in Boston after losing her first application in 2004.

She applied again after her illegal status was made public during Mr Obama's presidential campaign in 2008.

Mr Obama said at the time he did not know his aunt was in America illegally.

People who seek asylum in the US must show that they face persecution in their homeland on the basis of religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership of a social group.

The basis for her asylum request was never made public but one of her lawyers, Margaret Wong of Cleveland, said last year that Ms Onyango had first applied for asylum "due to violence in Kenya".

Her lawyers said on Monday she planned to apply for a work visa and could apply for a green card after she got it.

The US president first met his father's side of the family when he travelled to Africa more than 20 years ago.

Describing the visit in a memoir, he talks of Ms Onyango, whom he calls Auntie Zeituni, as a proud woman.

Ms Onyango visited the family in Chicago on a tourist visa at Mr Obama's invitation about 10 years ago, stopping to visit friends on the east coast before returning to Kenya.

In 2004 she attended Mr Obama's swearing-in to the US Senate but campaign officials say he did not help get her a tourist visa.


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.