ICE E-Mail: Obama's Uncle Granted 'Stay ... To Seek Reopening of His Deportation Proceedings'

By Amanda Swysgood | July 18, 2012 | 8:02pm EDT

Onyango Obama, an uncle of President Barack Obama, who was ordered to leave the United States in January 1992 but did not and is now reopening the deportation proceedings against him.

( – An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) e-mail from April 2012 shows that the agency granted Onyango Obama – an illegal alien and uncle of President Barack Obama – a stay of deportation to allow him “to seek reopening of his deportation proceedings,” which had been settled and closed by a Board of Immigration Appeals in 1992, when he had been finally ordered to leave the United States.

Onyango Obama, 67, is the half-brother of Obama’s father, and he had been living  in the United States since 1963. He was initially ordered to leave America in 1989. In August 2011, he was arrested for DUI in Framingham, Mass. The ICE e-mail was obtained, along with other documents, by the government watchdog Judicial Watch, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit the group filed in April.

The e-mail (p. 43 in link), dated April 1, 2012, was sent by ICE Assistant Director of Public Affairs Brian Hale to ICE Director John Morton.  The e-mail is entitled “Onyango Statement and TP’s [Talking Points].” The e-mail reads:

“Mr. Onyango is subject to a final order of deportation. ICE had granted him a stay of deportation effective until June 5, 2012.

“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.

“On March 27, 2012, the Framingham Massachusetts District Court entered its judgment in Mr. Onyango’s criminal case. Since his criminal case has concluded and his attorney appears not to have filed a motion to reopen, ICE is requiring Mr. Onyango to report to our Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations in Burlington, MA on April 12, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. with his attorney of record.

“At that appointment, arrangements, including medical accommodations, will be discussed to effectuate his departure from the United States on an appropriate date.

“Absent a change in circumstances, ICE does not intend to deport him at the time of his April 12 appointment.”  (Link to e-mail here. See p. 43.)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told, “First of all, there is a question of whether or not there was special treatment given to Obama’s uncle. Certainly it is, on its face, a dubious policy to allow someone to be on the lam for 20 years from a deportation order, then go on and commit a dangerous DUI criminal violation and then, rather than deport the person immediately, defer deporting him so he can reopen his case again.”

“That does not seem to be good public policy and if that’s the policy typical of this administration or, frankly, the Bush administration either, then our system is really out of whack,” said Fitton.

“The other key thing is obviously the top levels of ICE were keeping track of this case, so it’s unusual in that nature as well,” said Fitton.  “I have a feeling Mr. Morton did not receive too many talking points on other immigration customs enforcement proceedings or decisions.”

“To take a step back, the line of the administration is that, ‘We’re only going to be deporting the serious folks, okay, the folks who have committed serious crimes,’” said Fitton. “Evidently a DUI is not a serious crime, unless of course several DUI’s then lead to it.”

“ICE should have deported Onyango immediately, especially after his DUI,” said Fitton.  “We now know that the Obama administration decided not to deport Obama’s uncle despite his being a criminal and being on the lam for at least 20 years.”

Onyango Obama’s DUI case was granted a one-year continuation by a Framingham District Court in March, reported The Boston Globe. Although Onyango Obama initially had his driver’s license suspended for 45 days at that time, he received a “hardship” license shortly thereafter so he could continue working at his job as the manager of a liquor store.

According to this lawyer, P. Scott Bratton, Obama now has a temporary work permit and plans to appeal the 20-year-old deportation order against him.

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