Aunt Zeituni: 'The System Took Advantage Of Me'
President Obama's Aunt Speaks Exclusively With WBZ-TV
"If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen." Those are the words from 58-year-old Zeituni Onyango of Kenya in a recent exclusive interview with WBZ-TV.
Onyango is the aunt of President Barack Obama. She lived in the United States illegally for years, receiving public assistance in Boston.
Onyango is the aunt of President Barack Obama. She lived in the United States illegally for years, receiving public assistance in Boston.....
In 2004 a judge ordered Zeituni Onyango out of the country, but she never left. She stayed, hiding in plain sight. In 2005 she attended her nephew's swearing in as the junior Senator of Illinois. In 2008 she was invited to, and traveled to D.C. for President Obama's inauguration.
However her nephew, she says, never pulled any strings for her.
"Listen. Obama did not know my whereabouts."
Onyango hired a top immigration lawyer from Cleveland to help fight her case. We asked how she afforded that lawyer, when she claimed poverty.
"When you believe in Jesus Christ and almighty God, my help comes from heaven," she responded.
When asked about cutting in line ahead of those who have paid into the system she answered plainly, "I don't mind. You can take that house. I will be on the street with the homeless."
"To me America's dream became America's worst nightmare," she said adamantly. "I have been treated like public enemy number one."
She is still living in South Boston public housing, unemployed, and collecting about $700 a month in disability, she says. And now, Zeituni Onlyango is in this country legally.
In May 2010, Onyango's case went back before the same judge who ordered her out of the country in 2004. This time she was granted asylum in the United States. The ruling said a return to Kenya might put Onyango in danger.
September 23, 2010
As suggested by a commenter, here's Jonathan Elias of WBZTV.com in Boston: