Obama's Uncle Wins Immigration Battle
- Jessica Michele Herring
- Dec 04, 2013 01:33 PM EST
Onyango Okech Obama, an uncle of President Barack Obama, who has been in the United States illegally for decades, has won approval from a federal court to continue living in the United States.
Onyango is the half-brother of President Obama's late father, according to Al Jazeera America.
Federal immigration judge Leonard I. Shapiro in Massachusetts agreed without argument on Tuesday to allow Onyango Obama, who has lived and worked in the U.S. for 50 years, to stay and acquire a green card, CNN confirms.
Onyango's attorney, Margaret Wong, said the judge looked at his character, reviewed his long-term employment at a grocery store in Framingham, Mass., and went over his tax records and rent payments.
Shapiro also considered the federal immigration law that allows individuals who came to the U.S. before January 1972 to apply for residency. Onyango has resided in the U.S. since October 1963.
"I'm relieved, I represented the family for some time and it's really a relief," said Wong. "I'm so thankful that everything is finished."
In his testimony, Onyango mentioned that Barack Obama stayed with him for three weeks during Obama's days as a student after he was accepted to law school.
In 2011, Onyango was arrested for drunk driving, and was ordered to check in with immigration, according to Brian P. Hale, then director of public affairs for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
At the time of his arrest, a law enforcement official said he was not legally in the U.S. and had previously been told to leave the country.
The judge's ruling allows Onyango to permanently stay in the states. However, federal immigration authorities are given 30 days to appeal the ruling.