Barack Obama is not just the first black president — he’s also probably the first president to have an aunt who is an illegal alien. And George W. Bush made sure to protect her before he left office. The Associated Press reports:
The Homeland Security Department still is requiring high-level approval before federal immigration agents can arrest fugitives, a rule quietly imposed by the Bush administration days before the election of Barack Obama, whose aunt has been living in the United States illegally.
The unusual directive from the Homeland Security Department came amid concerns that such arrests might generate “negative media or congressional interest,” according to a newly disclosed federal document obtained by The Associated Press.
The directive makes clear that U.S. officials worried about possible election implications of arresting Zeituni Onyango, the half-sister of Obama’s late father, who at the time was living in public housing in Boston. She is now believed to be living in Cleveland.
The AP goes on:
Obama’s aunt was instructed to leave the country four years ago by an immigration judge who rejected her request for asylum from her native Kenya. The East African nation has been fractured by violence in recent years, including a period of two months of bloodshed after December 2007 that killed 1,500 people.
Despite the deportation order, Onyango traveled to Washington last week for her nephew’s inauguration. News organizations observed her attending an inaugural ball at Washington’s Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, a historic luxury hotel, with her immigration lawyer, Margaret Wong.
Obama is playing it cool. (That’s his M.O. — act cool as a cucumber, and do what he likes out of the spotlight.) The AP again:
Obama has said he didn’t know his aunt was living in the United States illegally and believes that laws covering the situation should be followed. The White House said late Sunday that Onyango’s lawyer, Margaret Wong, contacted Obama’s lawyer to confirm Wong’s role in the case.
“They agreed at the time that the case should proceed in the ordinary course, with neither the president nor his representatives having any involvement,” the White House said.
She’s fighting the deportation order, of course. Although she has broken the law, here’s what ICE is concerned about:
ICE has since said it is investigating whether any laws or rules were broken in the disclosure about Obama’s aunt.
If laws were broken, I’m sure some lawyer will contact Auntie Zeituni to help her with a lawsuit. Maybe a personal lawsuit against whoever disclosed her illegal status. That might be the AP:
The AP was first to disclose Onyango’s illegal status Oct. 31, hours after the Homeland Security directive was issued.
I applaud the Associated Press. Lately their news dispatches are often more like opinion pieces (leftist, of course), but they have done stellar reporting on the Auntie Zeituni matter. The Times (UK) broke the story about Auntie’s existence but the AP has stayed on the story without bias. Kudos to the writers of this article, Ted Bridis and Eileen Sullivan.
In one of my earlier posts I linked to a Victor Davis Hanson piece about the meaning of the Auntie Zeituni matter, called How Many Laws Can One Break? It’s worth reading again.
Update: See the new item on Auntie Zeituni later in the day here.