President Obama’s Kenyan aunt was granted asylum by a U.S. immigration court on May 17, according to the Associated Press. Under the asylum, she will be able to stay in the U.S., setting her on the road to citizenship.
The decision arrives three months after Zeituni Onyango, a native of Kenya, testified at a hearing in Boston. Onyango arrived at the hearing in a wheelchair and was accompanied by two doctors who also testified on her behalf. According to the AP, Onyango is the half-sister of Obama’s late father.
Those who seek asylum have to prove they face persecution in their native countries on the basis of race, nationality, religion, political opinion or membership in a certain group. The exact reason for Onyango’s asylum request has not been released to the public.
“The asylum process is confidential and she wants to keep it that way, so we can’t get into detail on why the judge granted asylum or the exact basis for her claim,” Onyango’s attorney, Scott Bratton told the AP.
Onyango’s first requested asylum in 2000, but was rejected. She was ordered to be deported in 2004, but still continued to live in Boston. Just days prior to Obama’s 2008 presidential election, it was discovered that Onyango was living in the U.S. as an illegal immigrant.
According to attorneys for Onyango, Obama was not involved in the hearing earlier this year, and the White House said it was not assisting her with legal fees.