Obama’s Aunt a Symbol of How U.S. Immigration Policy is Abused, Says FAIR
(Washington, D.C. April 2, 2009) The case of Zeituni Onyango, a Kenyan illegal alien fighting deportation from the United States, has captured national attention because she happens to be President Obama’s aunt. But her case is truly important because it is a high profile example of the way illegal aliens routinely manipulate the adjudication process and abuse the political asylum system.
After a closed hearing before a federal immigration judge in Boston on Tuesday, Ms. Onyango, who has twice been ordered deported and has already had a request for political asylum denied, received a stay of deportation so that she could continue her fight to remain in the United States.
“What is all too common about Ms. Onyango is that her successful effort to stymie the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws is a textbook example of what takes place all the time,” commented Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). “Despite having twice defied an order of deportation, Ms. Onyango is still able to manipulate the system to her own benefit.”
In 2002, Ms. Onyango’s request for political asylum was denied and she was ordered to leave the country in 2003. After exhausting a series of appeals, Ms. Onyango was again ordered deported in 2004. Instead of complying with her deportation orders, Ms. Onyango remained in the United States illegally, living in taxpayer subsidized public housing.
Ms. Onyango is seeking to benefit from her defiance of deportation orders, arguing that during the seven years since her first asylum request was denied, new circumstances have arisen that would make it unsafe for her to return to her native Kenya. A 2008 Government Accountability Office report found the U.S. asylum system is rife with fraudulent claims. Such claims not only clog court dockets, but can deny much needed asylum slots to people who desperately need protection.
“Ms. Onyango’s case is a glaring example of how illegal aliens can defy our laws and use the judicial process to delay and, ultimately, avoid deportation,” said Stein. “At every level, our immigration policies are in shambles because there are rarely consequences for flouting our laws. In immigration law, justice delayed works to the benefit of the people who break our laws, while justice is denied to citizens and immigrants who play by the rules.
“Given the administration’s across-the-board gutting of immigration enforcement, we are likely to see the adjudication process become even more susceptible to this sort of abuse,” Stein continued. “With far less publicity than Ms. Onyango’s case is receiving, the immigration courts themselves will increasingly become a vehicle to thwart the law, rather than enforce it.”