Dec 1 2009
Called a “political liability” by the Obama campaign, Barack Obama’s Kenyan aunt, Zeituni Onyango, said, “I loved President Bush,” while moving toward a framed photo of Bush and his wife standing with Barack and Michelle Obama at the White House on inauguration day. “He (George W. Bush) is my No. 1 man in my life because he helped me when I really needed that help.”
Onyango reserved special words of kindness for former President George W. Bush for a directive he put in place days before the election requiring federal agents get high-level approval to arrest fugitive immigrants, which directly affected Onyango. The directive made clear that U.S. officials worried about possible election implications of arresting Onyango.
She said she wants to thank Bush in person for the order, which gave her a measure of peace.
President Barack Obama’s Kenyan aunt buried her face in her hands and sobbed as she described her anguish over no longer having contact with him and his family after the revelation that she had been living illegally for years in the United States in public housing.
Zeituni Onyango told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview that she is troubled that her immigration woes have made her a political liability to her nephew. Onyango, the half sister of Obama’s late father, said she has exiled herself from the family after attending Obama’s inauguration because she didn’t want to become fodder for his foes. Obama and his family have not reached out to her either, she said.
“Before, we were family. But right now, there is a lot of politics, and me, I am not interested in any politics at all,” said Onyango, whose appeal for asylum from her native Kenya is before an immigration judge in Boston.
The Obamas are her only family in the United States, she said. “It is very sad when such a thing happens. There are people, outsiders, you know, they come in between, they divide a family,” she said last week. “It’s not easy.”
Onyango, 57, is protective of Obama and said she never asked him to intervene in her case and didn’t tell him about her immigration difficulties. “I carry my own cross,” she said. “He has nothing to do with my problem.”
The White House said Obama has had no involvement in his aunt’s case and believes it should run its ordinary course.
Onyango helped care for the president’s half brothers and sister while living with Barack Obama Sr. in Kenya. She moved to the United States in 2000 and applied for asylum in 2002, but her request was rejected and she was ordered deported in 2004. However, she did not leave the country and continued to live in public housing in Boston. She had been a health care volunteer but not since her status became public.
Onyango said she previously had no trouble visiting Obama when he was a state senator in Illinois or after he became a U.S. senator. (But apparently, now she does) Her tiny apartment in a modest subsidized public housing complex for seniors and the disabled is adorned with photographs of her with Obama at the Illinois Statehouse, the president’s official portrait, his family, the inauguration, her children and African wildlife.
She is disabled and learning to walk again after being paralyzed for more than three months because of an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome. Her status as an illegal alien was revealed in October 2008, days before Obama was elected. Obama said he did not know his aunt was living in the U.S. illegally and said he believes the law should be followed. MSNBC
So much for Obama’s BS claim of being his brother’s keeper.