Normally I have sympathy for people like this, whose mistakes become national news purely by dint of who they’re related to. This guy, however, not only nearly plowed into a cop car, he’s facing a deportation order. Which suggests, without quite confirming, that he’s here illegally and has been for years.
Time for a beer summit with ICE? All that’s missing is the obligatory pronouncement from on high that “the police acted stupidly.”
Onyango Obama, 67, was arrested last week in Framingham, about 20 miles west of Boston, after police said he made a rolling stop through a stop sign and nearly caused a cruiser to strike his sport utility vehicle.
Police said that after being booked at the police station, Obama was asked whether he wanted to make a telephone call to arrange for bail. “I think I will call the White House,” he stated, according to a police report filed in Framingham District Court.
Police said Obama, who is originally from Kenya and is the half-brother of the president’s late father, pleaded not guilty Friday and is being held without bail on a detainer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In a court document, ICE said Onyango Obama had an earlier deportation or removal order.
His immigration status couldn’t immediately be confirmed, but such orders are generally reserved for people living in the country illegally. A spokesman for ICE declined to comment on Onyango Obama’s immigration case, and the White House had no comment.
The bad news? Obama was on vacation last week when the arrest happened so that call to the White House wouldn’t have done much good. The good news? He was on vacation in Massachusetts, so in theory he could have just swung by the precinct and bailed Uncle Onyango out. The Boston Herald called Obama’s aunt Zeituni, who was also here illegally but was granted asylum by an immigration judge last year, for her comment on the arrest. Quote: “Why don’t you go to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washingon, D.C. and ask your president? Not me.” I kind of like her.
As for how long he’s been here illegally, no one knows for sure. But read Kerry Picket’s post citing the Times of London for an attempted timeline. If I’m understanding it correctly, Obama’s grandmother told him in 1988 that Uncle Onyango had left for the United States “25 years ago” and never come back. If that’s roughly accurate then he’s been here for upwards of 50 full years. Between that and the fact that his face and name are now internationally famous, this arrest might end up being the best thing that could have happened to him. If they send him back to Kenya, he’s a target for any U.S. enemy looking to menace the president’s family. Which is to say, he’s probably a likelier candidate for asylum now than he was a week ago — even though, per DHS’s new policy, illegals who have had scrapes with the law are supposed to be first up for deportation. Oh well. One big happy “federal family”!