BOSTON — President Barack Obama’s African aunt showed up in a wheelchair Thursday, a cane across her lap, for a hearing in U.S. Immigration Court to make another bid for asylum because of what her lawyer said included medical reasons.
BOSTON — President Barack Obama’s African aunt showed up in a wheelchair Thursday, a cane across her lap, for a hearing in U.S. Immigration Court to make another bid for asylum because of what her lawyer said included medical reasons. Kenya native Zeituni Onyango, 57, and two doctors are expected to testify at the hearing, which is closed to the public, lawyer Margaret Wong said. She is applying for asylum for medical and "other" reasons, Wong said. In an interview in November with The Associated Press, she said she is disabled and learning to walk again after being paralyzed from Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. It was not immediately clear when Judge Leonard Shapiro would rule. Lauren Alder Reid, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, said the judge could issue a decision Thursday after the hearing, could continue the hearing and hear additional testimony on another date, or could issue a decision later. Onyango, the half-sister of Obama’s late father, moved to the United States in 2000. Her first asylum request was rejected, and she was ordered deported in 2004. But she didn’t leave the country and continued to live in public housing in Boston. Her status as an illegal immigrant was revealed just days before Obama was elected in November 2008. Obama has said he didn’t know his aunt was living in the country illegally and immigration law should be followed. In November, Onyango said she never asked Obama to intervene in her case and didn’t tell him about her immigration difficulties. "He has nothing to do with my problem," she told the AP. In his memoir, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," Obama affectionately referred to Onyango as "Auntie Zeituni" and described meeting her during his 1988 trip to Kenya. Onyango helped care for the president’s half brothers and sister while living with Barack Obama Sr. in Kenya. Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. Photo caption: President Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, poses in her home in Boston with a framed photograph of Obama and herself, when he was an Illinois state senator. She will make a second bid for political asylum as she goes before an immigration judge Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010, to argue that she should be allowed to stay in the United States. AP Photo/Josh Reynolds, File