Our KAOPOTUS, whose situation I've been following since last year (here, here, and here), arrived in the U.S. on a tourist visa in 2000 and applied for political asylum in 2002, reportedly citing fears of violence in her native Kenya. Her request was turned down in 2004. She appealed the rejection of her request twice, but was denied each time and ordered to leave the country. Onyango remained in her Boston apartment illegally - and without any difficultly - until April of 2009, when a judge gave her permission to stay in the United States while he considered her case.
After three denials of her asylum request, the fourth time was the charm. According to today's Boston Herald:
A jubilant Zeituni Onyango celebrated in South Boston today after learning a U.S. immigration court granted her asylum - a decision her neighbors speculated was probably helped by her nephew, President Obama.
“It’s obvious her nephew helped,” said neighbor Marion Swain. “She’s a very nice person - very well spoken. That’s life.”
Onyango faced being deported to Kenya by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but a judge ruled she can now apply for a work visa and green card.
“I don’t want to be disturbed,” said Onyango through the door of her public housing unit on L Street.
She doesn't want to be disturbed? I can't blame her. The government didn't disturb her peace during the five years she was a fugitive, so why should the news media bother her now?
The basis for her asylum request was never made public. People who seek asylum must show that they face persecution in their homeland on the basis of religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group.
“The asylum process is confidential and she wants to keep it that way, so we can’t get into details on why the judge granted asylum or the exact basis for her claim,” said her attorney Scott Bratton. He added: “She doesn’t want people to feel sorry for her.”
What's that? She just got awarded asylum after eight years of requests and appeals because she claims to face persecution back in Kenya, but now she doesn't want people to feel sorry for her? Is it too late to revoke that asylum?
Today's story was carried in Kenyan news media, and KAOPOTUS's claims of persecution generated quite a few reader comments (here), almost none of them favorable. This is a typical one:
This woman should never have been given assylum. At least not POLITICAL! What political persecution does she face in Kenya and what violence is she running away from? These are the people who go rubishing our country in foreign lands and degrade us. And there are many of such!
The case of Aunt Zeituni really sets the political asylum bar low. Will anyone get refused again? And by "anyone," I mean anyone not related to a U.S. president?