Onyango Obama, uncle of President Barack Obama, has been granted a new deportation hearing, more than 20 years after being ordered to leave the United States.

The 68-year-old Kenyan native who lives in the Boston, Mass. area moved to the U.S. as a teenager in the early 1960s to live with a host family and attend school, P. Scott Bratton, the man’s Cleveland-based attorney, said according to The Associated Press.

In 1992, immigration officials ordered Obama, half- brother of the president’s late father, to leave the country after he failed to renew an immigration application, the AP reported. But the order was caused by a technical error, Bratton has said, and since then, Obama has been trying to reverse the decision.

During Thanksgiving week the federal Board of Immigration Appeals granted Onyango Obama’s request for a rehearing of his immigration case based in part on his contention that his prior lawyer was ineffective, a government official with direct knowledge of the case told Boston.com.

On Dec. 4, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Brian Hale said the Board of Immigration Appeals has sent Obama’s case to the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review for reassessment. A date for the rehearing has not been released.

Hale would not discuss the reasons for the decision, according to the AP, and the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees immigration courts, was similarly reticent.

The action came a year after a drunken-driving arrest in Framingham, Mass. revealed that he had violated a longstanding order to return to Kenya.

This is not the first of the president’s Kenyan kin to find themselves in immigration trouble.

Zeituni Onyango, the older Obama’s sister and the president’s aunt, garnered international attention in 2010 when she beat back a deportation order and won the right to stay in the U.S.


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO