(CNSNews.com) -- The U.S Board of Immigration Appeals has agreed to reopen the immigration case of Onyango Obama, delaying the deportation of the 68-year old Kenyan who violated an order to leave the United States in 1992.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, confirmed to CNSNews.com on Tuesday that Obama, who is the president’s uncle, was granted a rehearing last week and his case is being re-opened.
“The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) remanded the case back to Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) for reconsideration. It is inappropriate for ICE to offer any further comment on this case,” Brian P. Hale, ICE assistant director for public affairs, said in a statement to CNSNews.com.
The Cleveland, Ohio-based immigration law firm of Margaret Wong and Associates, which is handling Obama’s case, said the delay may allow the Kenyan national to apply to stay in the U.S. permanently.
“We are delighted that the Board of Immigration Appeals has decided to reopen the deportation case of President Obama's uncle, Obama Onyango,” Wong said in a statement.
“Mr. Onyango now has an opportunity to stay in the U.S. and apply for permanent residency,” the statement said. “Mr. Onyango is the brother of the U.S. president's late father and came to the U.S. in the 1960s on one of the last boat lifts.”
In 1989, an immigration judge ordered Obama, who has been in the U.S. since 1963, to be deported. He appealed and the appeal was dismissed in 1992.
Crystal Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said any move to reconsider a case is unusual when there is already an order for removal.
“It isn’t common for the Board to reopen a case when there is an outstanding order of removal, as there is here, particularly with a later DUI arrest. It happens, but not that often,” Williams said in a statement to CNSNews.com.
CNSNews.com reported in July that an ICE internal e-mail obtained by the legal watchdog Judicial Watch had confirmed that ICE had granted Obama a stay of deportation “to seek reopening of his deportation proceedings.”
The e-mail, sent by Hale to ICE Director John Morton on April 1, revealed that ICE had no immediate plans to deport Obama, in spite of a previous ICE order that granted Obama a stay of deportation until June 5, 2012.
“Mr. Onyango is subject to a final order of deportation. ICE had granted him a stay of deportation effective until June 5, 2012,” the e-mail reads.
“The stay was granted to allow him to attend pending criminal proceedings and to seek reopening of his deportation proceedings, which concluded before the Board of Immigration Appeals on January 29, 1992.”
Obama was arrested in Framingham, Mass., for DUI in August 2011. In March of this year, his case was continued for one year and his driver’s license was suspended for 45 days.
According to the Boston Globe, Obama subsequently received a “hardship” license so he could continue working at his job as the manager of a liquor store.