By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE APRIL 8, 2014
BOSTON — Zeituni Onyango, President Obama’s Kenyan-born aunt, who received asylum in the United States in 2010 after years of living illegally in Boston, died on Tuesday in a rehabilitation home here. She was 61.
Her death was confirmed by Margaret Wong, a Cleveland lawyer who represented Ms. Onyango in her immigration case. She said that Ms. Onyango had cancer and respiratory problems.
Ms. Onyango was the stepsister of Mr. Obama’s father.
Ms. Onyango moved to South Boston on a valid visa in 2000 and sought political asylum in 2002. It was denied in 2004, and she was ordered to leave the country, but she refused.
She was living in relative anonymity in Boston until just before the 2008 presidential election, when her illegal status was reported by The Associated Press. The Times of London found her in what it described as “run-down public housing.” ...
To escape media scrutiny, Ms. Onyango moved to Cleveland, where the Kenyan community took her in, said Ms. Wong, who helped her obtain a green card.
In seeking asylum for Ms. Onyango, Ms. Wong argued that if she were forced to return to Kenya she would face undue attention and perhaps danger because of her nephew’s fame. To be granted asylum, people must show that they would face persecution in their home countries.
Oh boy ...
In Boston, Judge Leonard Shapiro granted Ms. Onyango asylum in 2010. She died before being granted citizenship.
Aunt Zeituni's reason for getting asylum may even top Ibragim Todashev's, which was more or less: My dad back home in Russia is only three levels down the org chart from Vladimir Putin, so if the 82nd Airborne ever installs Masha Gessen in the Kremlin to bring Russia democracy, good and hard, well, our family could face repercussions.