The White House commented on President Barack Obama’s long lost relative, Onyango Obama, who was arrested in Framingham, Massachusetts last week for a DUI charge. Mr. Obama’s half uncle, also known as Uncle Omar, has been detained by immigration authorities.
According to reports, White House Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Thursday that the president only became aware of his uncle’s story on Monday, when Mr. Carney told him. “I would refer you to ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and DHS [Department of Homeland Security]. It will be handled like any other immigration case,” Mr. Carney told White House press.
The reaction from the president about his uncle is no different than his reaction about his Aunt Zeituni, Onyango’s sister. After the press found then Senator Obama’s aunt living in Boston during the 2008 campaign, days before the presidential election, Mr. Obama told the media he had no idea she was living there. The Associated Press reported: (bolding is mine)
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said Saturday he didn’t know his aunt was living in the United States illegally and believes that laws covering the situation should be followed.
The Associated Press found that Obama’s aunt had been instructed to leave the country four years ago by an immigration judge who rejected her request for asylum from her native Kenya. The woman, Zeituni Onyango (zay-TUHN on-YANG-oh), is living in public housing in Boston and is the half-sister of Obama’s late father.
A statement given to the AP by Obama’s campaign said, “Senator Obama has no knowledge of her status but obviously believes that any and all appropriate laws be followed.” Traveling with Obama in Nevada, campaign strategist David Axelrod declined to elaborate on the statement, but said: “I think people are suspicious about stories that surface in the last 72 hours of a national campaign.”
An adviser to Republican John McCain’s campaign, Mark Salter, said he had no comment on the reports about Obama’s relative. “It’s a family matter,” Salter said.
The campaign said it was returning $260 that Onyango had contributed in small increments to Obama’s presidential bid over several months. Federal election law prohibits foreigners from making political donations. Onyango listed her employer as the Boston Housing Authority and last gave $5 on Sept. 19.
History is more than repeating itself here, as President Obama’s uncle now has the same immigration lawyer, Margaret Wong, who successfully represented Zeituni Onyango. Chances are, Mr. Obama’s uncle will not be leaving the United States any time soon.