President Barack Obama’s uncle, who stayed in the U.S. illegally since 1992 was granted permanent residency.
Onyango Obama, 69, came to the U.S. from Kenya in 1963 on a student visa. After a series of immigration hearings in the 1980s he was instructed to leave in 1992, but stayed illegally instead.
He lived in the U.S. for 50 years, earned a degree in philosophy from Boston University, worked as a manager of a family liquor store, he even helped African immigrants settle in the country.
It wasn’t until Onyango’s arrest for drunken driving in 2011 that his illegal immigration status became known. It was the only time he was ever arrested.
He testified in front of Judge Leonard Shapiro. When asked about his family, the Associated Press quoted Onyango saying, “I do have a nephew. Barack Obama. He’s the President of the United States.”
Judge Shaprio cited a law that said “out of status” immigrants are entitled to permanent residency if they meet the following criteria:
- Arrived in the U.S. before 1972
- Maintained continuous residence
- Are of good moral character
Onyango just has to complete a year of probation and 14 weeks of alcohol education classes.
He was represented by Margaret Wong, an immigration attorney from Cleveland, Ohio. The Associated Press quoted her saying, “He has earned his privilege to stay in the United States. He has been here for 50 years.”
After five years, Onyango can apply for U.S. citizenship.