(Update) Obama’s uncle dodges deportation in Boston immigration court
President Barack Obama’s Kenyan-born uncle appeared in a federal immigration court in Boston Tuesday where he argued that he should be allowed to stay in the United States, despite a 1992 deportation order and 2011 drunk-driving arrest.
An immigration judge granted 69-year-old Onyango Obama permission to stay in the U.S., saying he is of “good moral character.”
Onyango is the half-brother of President Obama’s deceased father. He came to the United States as a teenager to attend an elite school near Boston, but later dropped out and allowed his visa to lapse.
His outstanding 1992 deportation order came to light after he was arrested and charged with drunk driving in August 2011 in Framingham, Mass. After his arrest, he allegedly told police: “I think I will call the White House.”
He was placed on probation for a year before the drunk driving charge was dismissed. Meanwhile, his lawyers have appealed the deportation order, arguing that his former immigration attorney was ineffective and that he had already spent most of his life in the United States.
Onyango Obama is not believed to have a close relationship with the president, but critics have said he appeared to receive favorable treatment, including from immigration authorities, who allowed his release and gave him a work permit during his appeal.
The case will be heard by Judge Leonard Shapiro, the same judge who in 2010 granted asylum to Obama’s sister and President Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango. Onyango had argued she was unsafe in her native Kenya due to escalating political violence there.
Reuters contributed to this report.