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Obama's Kenyan aunt granted asylum in US

The African aunt of US President Barack Obama has been granted asylum by an immigrant court in Boston, allowing her to stay in the country.

world Updated: May 18, 2010 14:06 IST

The African aunt of US President Barack Obama has been granted asylum by an immigrant court in Boston, allowing her to stay in the country.

Zeituni Onyango, the Kenyan half-sister of Obama's late father, had testified earlier this year at a closed hearing in Boston, seeking asylum in the country.

Onyango, whose illegal status was first reported right ahead of Obama's election as president, plans to apply for a work visa and can apply for a green card once she gets it, her attorneys said.

The reasons for her asylum request have not been made public.

"The asylum process is confidential, and she wants to keep it that way, so we can't get into details on why the judge granted asylum or the exact basis for her claim," said her attorney Scott Bratton.

Onyangon, who moved to the US in 2000, plans to apply for a work visa and then for a green card.

She was ordered to be deported in 2004 after her asylum request was rejected. However, she did not leave the country and continued to live in public housing in Boston.

Her illegal status was first reported in the media in November 2008, days before the presidential elections that year that sent the first Afro-American to the White House.

Obama had said he had no knowledge that his aunt was living here illegally and said the laws covering the situation should be followed.

Onyango, who turns 58 this month, featured in Obama's memoir, "Dreams from My Father".