The legacy of Obama’s illegal alien aunt
Zeituni Onyango, President Obama’s illegal alien aunt, died this week of cancer and other complications. I hope she rests in peace. America, however, should be up in arms.
Auntie Zeituni is an enduring symbol of all that is wrong with this country’s immigration “policy” — or rather, its complete lack of a coherent, enforceable system of laws and rules that puts the national interest first. She was a beneficiary of the welfare state run amok, enabled by bipartisan fecklessness. To the bitter end, she bit the hand that fed her with predictable ingratitude and metastatic entitlement.
Zeituni’s 14-year illegal overstay is a reminder that our temporary visa program is an abysmal joke. Like millions of foreign students, business people and tourists to this country, Auntie Zeituni obtained a short-term visitor visa in 2000. It had an expiration date. She was supposed to go back to Kenya in two years after traveling here with her son, who had been accepted at a college in Boston.
But like millions of other “temporary” visa overstayers, Auntie Zeituni never went home. And despite billions spent on homeland security and immigration enforcement, no one ever went looking for her to kick her out of the country after her time was up.
Auntie Zeituni had no job skills, no special talent, no compelling reason to keep her here in America as an asset to our culture or our economy. She didn’t value the American Dream. She was a dependency nightmare. She collected $700 a month in welfare benefits and disability payments totaling $51,000. Somehow, Auntie Zeituni also drummed up money to apply for asylum and finagled her way into both federal and state public housing in Boston.
She contributed nothing to this country. The only “work” she did was gaming the system, complaining about her lot and blaming everyone else for her problems while they subsidized her 14-year illegal overstay.
Auntie Zeituni’s ridiculous asylum application and what happened afterward are reminders that our asylum and deportation systems are appalling jokes. Auntie Zeituni’s bogus request was rejected by the immigration court system. A judge ordered her to return to Kenya in 2003. She appealed. She lost. A judge again ordered her to leave in 2004.
But Auntie Zeituni never went home. Like an estimated 700,000 other deportation absconders, she evaded the judicial order for nearly a half-dozen years and continued to feed at the government trough. When the Bush administration had the chance to put the pedal to the enforcement metal in 2008, they caved. Pandering to pro-amnesty forces, Bush officials issued a 72-hour cease-and-desist order to all fugitive apprehension teams to spare Obama embarrassment over his auntie right before Election Day.
As an Immigration and Customs Enforcement source told me at the time: “The ICE fugitive operations group throughout the U.S. was told to stand down until after the election from arresting or transporting anyone out of the U.S. This was done to avoid any mistakes of deporting or arresting anyone who could have a connection to the election, i.e., anyone from Kenya who could be a relative. The decision was election-driven.” Such stand-down non-enforcement orders are standard operating procedure in Washington.
Auntie Zeituni’s illegal activity and ingratitude were rewarded time and time again. She got multiple bites at the immigration court apple, where it ain’t over till the alien wins. Despite twice being ordered to go home, the feds allowed her bogus case to be reopened. After breaking visa laws, campaign finance laws (she donated illegally to Obama three times), deportation rules and judicial orders, she was allowed to have yet another hearing. Her manufactured claim of a “credible fear of persecution” in Kenya made a mockery of every legitimate case for asylum or refugee status.
“If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen,” Auntie Zeituni demanded. She griped that America had “used” her and then cashed in on a book about her travails called “Tears of Abuse.” And then, after a decade of doing absolutely nothing to enhance the well-being of our country, she received a coveted green card in 2010.
Neither Republican nor Democratic leaders in Washington had the will to kick this trash-talking freeloader (or her drunk-driving, deportation-evading, amnesty-securing deadbeat brother Omar Onyango) out of our home. Auntie Zeituni’s story is a disgraceful reminder that the only thing worse than the ingrates thumbing their noses at our immigration laws are the people in power on both sides of the aisle enabling them.
Open-borders bipartisanship is suicide.
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010).