President-elect Obama’s aunt, who is living in the U.S. illegally, will fight a deportation order, her lawyer says.
Zeituni Onyango was found to be staying with relatives in Cleveland after fleeing her public housing in Boston, where she had lived for five years, the Associated Press reports.
Onyango, a Kenyan native, is Obama’s father’s half-sister. She was ordered to leave the country in 2004 by an immigration judge who rejected her request for asylum.
Her Cleveland attorney Margaret Wong said she is exploring legal options and may appeal to re-open Onyango’s case. According to the Associated Press, Wong says Onyango is upset because she believes someone leaked information about her immigration status to try to hurt her nephew’s candidacy just before Election Day.
In a Sunday interview with CBS News’ Katie Couric, Obama said he supports the deportation of his aunt if she has been violating the law.
“Obviously that doesn't lessen my concern for her, I haven't been able to be in touch with her. But I'm a strong believer you have to obey the law,” he said.
Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, who is an American citizen with a Hispanic background, recently addressed the national debate surrounding immigration, calling it “bad for the soul of America.”
“It’s eating people up. And it’s just no good for people to be consumed by fear and hate. It’s no good for their souls. And it’s no good for our country, my friends,” Archbishop Gomez said at the Missouri Catholic Conference in early October.
Archbishop Gomez also lamented that American laws at the state and federal level are increasingly targeting immigrants.
He said the “national crisis” calls for national leadership, saying that after a new government is sworn in “we need to insist that our leaders roll up their sleeves and get to work on comprehensive immigration reform.”