BOSTON — President Barack Obama’s uncle is getting a new deportation hearing after an appeals board ordered the agency running the U.S. immigration court system to review his case.
Onyango Obama, the half brother of the president’s late father, is from Kenya but has lived in the United States for decades. He was ordered by an immigration judge to leave the U.S. in 1992, when he failed to renew an application to remain. He later sought to reverse the deportation order.
The Board of Immigration Appeals has sent Obama’s case to the Executive Office for Immigration Review for reassessment, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Brian Hale said Tuesday, declining to discuss the reasoning behind the decision.
Obama’s Cleveland-based attorney, P. Scott Bratton, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment. An Executive Office for Immigration Review spokeswoman wouldn’t comment, citing privacy laws.
Bratton previously said Obama’s deportation order was caused by a technical error. He said Obama, 68, moved to the United States as a teenager in the early 1960s to live with a host family and attend school.
Obama’s sister Zeituni Onyango, the president’s aunt, made headlines in 2010 when she won the right to stay in the United States after an earlier deportation order.
The president, in his memoir “Dreams from My Father,” writes about retracing his roots and his 1988 trip to Kenya and refers to an Uncle Omar, who matches Onyango Obama’s background and has the same date of birth.
Obama’s immigration woes emerged after he was arrested last year in Framingham, just west of Boston, and was charged with drunken driving. A police officer said Obama failed to stop at a stop sign and nearly caused the officer’s cruiser to crash into his vehicle.
Obama admitted sufficient facts in the case, meaning he didn’t plead guilty but acknowledged prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.
A judge continued the case for one year without a finding, so if Obama doesn’t get arrested during that time the charge will be dismissed. The judge also ordered him to attend a driver alcohol education program.
Obama, after he was arrested in the driving case and was asked if he wanted to make a phone call to arrange for bail, said, “I think I will call the White House,” according to a police report. But he has had no contact with the White House about the case, his lawyer said.
The White House said it expected his arrest to be handled like any other.