President Barack Obama’s Kenyan-born, formerly illegal immigrant uncle dropped more than his famous nephew’s name while facing deportation Tuesday for a 2011 drunk driving arrest – his testimony completely contradicted a White House statement that the president had never met his uncle.
Onyango “Omar” Obama, 69, who had been illegally living and working in the U.S. for most of 50 years, testified at his immigration hearing Tuesday that the “president had stayed with him at his Cambridge apartment for three weeks when he came to attend Harvard Law School in the 1980s,” the Boston Globe reported.
Alfred Ouma, the landlord of the apartment, served as a witness for Obama and confirmed his testimony that the president did indeed live with the uncle.
However, after Omar’s arrest for drunk driving, “the White House said…that he and the president had never met. The president was not close to his father’s side of the family given his father’s absence in his life,” according to the Globe.
Immigration Judge Leonard Shapiro offered his “congratulations” and “welcomed to America” the “kind and decent” Onyango Obama after he ruled Obama may remain in the U.S., saying he “can now get a green card, and in five years, apply for US citizenship, unless the Department of Homeland Security appeals the case within 30 days,” the article said.
“Shapiro cited a law that entitles immigrants who are ‘out of status’ to become permanent residents if they arrived in the U.S. before 1972, maintained continuous residence and are of good moral character,” according to the Associated Press.
Despite ignoring numerous orders – the latest in 1992 – to leave the country, Obama claimed over his 50-years in America he had “been a hard worker, paid income tax and been arrested only once.”
Obama’s attorney, Margaret Wong, said her client was “a wonderful older gentleman,” and that “he has earned his privilege to stay in the United States. He has been here for 50 years,” the Associated Press reported.
“This arrest, in the long run, is really good for him,” Wong told reporters. “Because now he got to stay, and with a green card and become a citizen and get to retire in America. I think it’s awesome.”
According to the Globe, Obama testified that “he was unsure how he would survive in Kenya,” considering that he is older, hasn’t been back there since he left at age 19, had no friends there anymore, and that he “worried” he couldn’t get his high blood pressure medication in Kenya.
During his 2011 Framingham arrest, Obama reportedly told police, “I think I will call the White House,” but testified Tuesday that he couldn’t recall saying that.
However, he dropped President Obama’s name in court yesterday.
When asked by Shapiro if he had any other relatives living in the U.S., Onyango Obama mentioned his sister, Zeituni Onyango, who was also granted asylum in 2010 after having been ousted for living here illegally right before the November 2008 general election and, of course, his famous nephew:
“I do have a nephew. Barack Obama. He’s the president of the United States.”
The Boston Globe reported the White House has not yet responded “to numerous requests for comment” on this story.
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