Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Obama's illegal alien aunt gets federal protection at immigration hearing

President Barack Obama's illegal alien aunt appealed a deportation order dressed in a wig of curly red and gold hair, sunglasses, and an ankle length coat of fake fur. She emerged after a brief, closed-door hearing in US Immigration Court in Boston and smiled broadly, having won 10 more months in the U.S.

"Praise God," Zeituni Onyango said softly, holding her head high.

At the initial appearance, said Department of Justice officials, the judge explained the deportation charges against her and detailed her rights. A second hearing was set for February 4, 2010 when she will be able to plead her request. A decision is generally made at the second hearing, said Justice officials.

The half-sister of Obama’s deceased Kenyan father, Onyango tried to avoid reporters, leaving the court through a back door. The hearing was closed to the public at the request of her lawyer, and she was escorted by Federal Protective Service officers.

She was ordered deported from the United States in 2004, but has been living in public housing in Boston since that time. Last December, following Obama's election victory, a court allowed her to have the case reopened. Obama says he never knew his aunt was living illegally in the United States.

The decision to provide federal officers as an escort and to take Onyango in and out of the court through special entrances reflected "some security concerns," said Justice officials. It was unclear who paid for her legal team. The government does not provide lawyers in immigration appeals.

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