The Boston Globe follows up on the story of Barack Obama’s Uncle Onyango, apprehended for drunk driving over the weekend and determined to be subject to a deportation order dating back to 1992. Drawing on The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father, by Globe reporter Sally Jacobs, the Globe reports that Uncle Onyango arrived in the United States in 1963 with the assistance of Obama’s father. Unlike Obama’s father, however, Uncle Onyango stuck around. He says he hasn’t been back to Kenya in a long time, and he has no intentions of returning now.
The lawyers who helped Aunt Zeituni game the system are on the case, but they don’t profess to have it figured out yet:
“He does want to stay,” said Scott Bratton, who with lawyer Margaret Wong in Cleveland have taken on Obama’s case. “He’s just been here for such a long period of time. He hasn’t been to Kenya in forever. He was young when he came to the United States.”
Bratton said the legal team is still piecing together the details of Obama’s case, and he did not know why the federal immigration courts ordered Obama to leave the country in 1992 – nor why he never left.
Even without access to Uncle Onyango, we can figure out why Uncle Onyango overstayed his welcome. Surely it is not a great mystery. He likes it here!
The Globe reporters condense a lot of living into a cruel summary:
The details of Obama’s life that emerged this week trace his path from a fresh-faced young soccer star who charmed classmates at a Cambridge preparatory school in the 1960s to a high school dropout who would disappear into his own networks in Massachusetts. Obama then became a grown man who ran afoul of the Internal Revenue Service, federal immigration authorities, and finally, Framingham police.
The Globe reporters also provide some background on the immigration proceedings:
A federal official said an immigration judge ordered Obama to leave the country in 1989, granting him voluntary departure, which allowed him to leave on his own instead of being deported. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the case.
But Obama never left and instead appealed his case to the Board of Immigration Appeals losing in 1992.
Twenty years later, there are a few loose ends to resolve, apparently including an old tax deficiency. But those twenty years provide the ground for Uncle Onyango’s opposition to deportation. He’s been here so long, it wouldn’t be right to send him back now:
Despite the deportation order, Obama continued to live, work, and drive in the United States. For the past five years, he worked at Conti Liquors in Framingham, where the owner praised his work ethic, though he noted that Obama inverted his names, calling himself Obama Onyango instead.
Uncle Onyango tested out at 0.14 when he was picked up for drunk driving over the weekend. Odds are he probably took advantage of the employee discount at Conti Liquors for the past five years. The Boston Herald adds that Uncle Onyango was implicated in two liquor license suspensions there — one in 2006, the other in 2010. Both were for reportedly serving minors.
Does the case of Uncle Onyango reveal a gap or two in immigration enforcement? Some parties aren’t talking:
It is unclear when Obama obtained his Social Security number. The Social Security Administration has said it is possible for legal immigrants to obtain such numbers but did not respond to questions yesterday about what happens after someone is ordered deported.
I think the correct answer to the question about what happens to a resident’s Social Security number after the resident is ordered deported is “nothing.” Michael Graham has more on this point in the Herald as well.
In Dreams From My Father, President Obama recounted his journey to Kenya in search of his Luo relatives. Did he know he could have made a side trip to Boston to finish up the research? That’s another loose end. The White House had no comment on Uncle Onyango’s arrest.
One footnote. The Washington Post takes note of the story of Uncle Onyango. A search of Onyango in the New York Times still turns up nada. It may be news, but it’s not fit to print, at least not yet.
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