President Obama’s uncle Onyango Obama was in court on Tuesday facing possible deportation back to his home country of Kenya, but lucky for him, a judge decided that he could stay in the country because of his “good moral character.”
“Congratulations,” said Judge Leonard I. Shapiro. “Welcome to America.”
Onyango Obama, 69, has been in the United States for 50 years, most of that time spent living here illegally. Still, a judge said that the man paid his taxes and was an upstanding person, so he has been granted a green card and in five years can apply for U.S. citizenship.
According to reports, the judge asked Obama whether or not he had any relatives in America. The man said yes, claiming he has a niece and nephew here.
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"I do have a nephew," said Obama to the judge. "He's the president of the United States."
Onyango came here in 1963 at age 19 with the help of his brother, the late father of current President Barack Obama. He came on a student visa, but after being renewed once, the visa expired in 1970. He remained here illegally until now, and despite being ordered to go back to Kenya numerous times, he never left. Onyango claims that he graduated from high school in Cambridge and got a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Boston University, but many people question how he paid for that education.
Obama said that Kenya has nothing for him, since he has been here for so long, and that going back would be challenging for him.
“I don’t have any more friends there,” he said. “At my age, it becomes a little bit difficult.”
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Onyango Obama got into trouble in 2011 for drunk driving and was sentenced to probation. That case, however, brought to light the man’s immigration status, thus leading to Tuesday’s ruling.
The White House has not yet commented on Onyango Obama’s case.