The linked article chronicles a series of events surrounding the potential deportation of Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, his father’s half-sister. It’s a confusing story, so I’ll try to simplify it here:
- Obama’s aunt arrived in the country from Kenya some years ago and then sought asylum status, which would have allowed her to stay.
- Approximately four years ago, an immigration judge denied her application for asylum and ordered her deported. She never left.
- On October 31st, the Department of Homeland Security issued a directive that agents obtain permission from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) field office directors or deputy directors before arresting fugitives. While not mentioning Obama’s aunt by name, its intent was to avoid negative publicity that would be associated with her arrest, if that were to happen.
- On November 26th, the Bush administration lifted the directive, potentially clearing the way for her arrest.
- On December 17th, an immigration judge stayed her deportation and ordered a new hearing, to be held in April.
The question now is whether Obama will somehow intervene on his aunt’s behalf. Or has he already signaled that he has no intention of doing so? Perhaps Obama, in consultation with Bush, agreed with lifting the directive following the election. It will be very interesting to see how events unfold – a good test of Obama’s integrity, his respect for the law and his attitudes toward immigration. Stay tuned.