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Judge delays ruling on Obama's aunt's asylum request

Zeituni Onyango, the president's aunt, was ordered deported in 2004, but she has remained in the United States illegally.
Zeituni Onyango, the president's aunt, was ordered deported in 2004, but she has remained in the United States illegally.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Parties' closing briefs due in 30 days; another hearing may come May 25
  • Zeituni Onyango's medical condition is part of her legal defense against expulsion
  • She applied for political asylum in 2002, citing Kenyan violence
  • Request was turned down two years later
RELATED TOPICS
  • Barack Obama
  • Immigration
  • Kenya

Boston, Massachusetts (CNN) -- President Obama's aunt, who has been living in the United States illegally, will not learn the results of her immigration hearing Thursday, her representative told CNN.

Both parties in the case are to give closing written briefs within 30 days, Department of Justice representative Lauren Alder Reid said. Another hearing is set for May 25, which will not occur if the judge renders a decision before then, she said.

Zeituni Onyango, 57, is the half-sister of the president's late father.

She arrived at the court in a wheelchair and testified before Judge Leonard Shapiro for 2½ hours about her asylum request, her representative, Amy Cohn, told CNN.

Two doctors, including her personal physician, also testified on her behalf. Onyango's medical condition is part of her legal defense against expulsion.

She applied for political asylum in 2002, citing violence in her native Kenya. Onyango was a legal resident of the United States at the time and had received a Social Security card a year earlier.

But her asylum request was turned down in 2004. She appealed and was ordered to leave, but has lived in the United States illegally since then.

Onyango's immigration status came to light in the final days of the 2008 presidential race.

Margaret Wong, an attorney for Onyango, said Obama did not submit any statement to the court as a part of the proceedings.

Obama has not weighed in on the case and has not spoken to his aunt, the White House said.

"This is a legal issue, and the president strongly believes that the law should be followed by everyone," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday.

The White House will "let the law play out as it should," he said.

CNN's Julian Cummings in Boston and Alan Silverleib in Washington contributed to this report.

 
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