President Barack Obama’s uncle, facing deportation for being in the country illegally, will not be treated differently than anyone else under U.S. laws, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told CNSNews.com on Thursday.
“I would refer you to ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and DHS [Department of Homeland Security]. It will be handled like any other immigration case,” Carney said.
CNSNews.com also asked, “Was the president aware that his uncle was in the United States as an undocumented immigrant?” But before the question was completely asked, Carney interjected, saying President Obama “was made aware of this issue when I walked into his office and, among other subjects, mentioned it to him and he was completely unaware.”
Carney apparently was speaking in reference to when the president first learned of his uncle's arrest. Carney did not say whether the president knew his uncle was in the United States illegally.
The uncle, Onyango Obama, 67, is the half-brother of the president’s father, Barack Obama, Sr. Back in 1992, an immigration judge had ordered Onyango Obama to leave the United States. According to the Associated Press, the uncle has held a Massachusetts driver’s license since at least 1992 and he also had a Social Security number, even though he is an illegal immigrant.
Onyango Obama was arrested in Framingham, Mass., last week and charged with drunken driving. He had made a rolling stop at a stop sign and nearly caused a police cruiser to strike his sport utility vehicle, police told the Associated Press.
After being booked at a police station, he was asked whether he wanted to make a telephone call to arrange for bail. “I think I will call the White House,” he said, according to a report written by Framingham police. He pleaded not guilty to the charge of operating an automobile under the influence of alcohol.
In his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, Barack Obama refers to his Uncle Omar, who matches Onyango Obama's background and has the same date of birth. In the book, a young Barack Obama Jr. traces his roots and his 1988 trip to Kenya. He writes about a Kenyan expression about getting lost, meaning to not see someone in a while or to move away and stop communicating — “like our Uncle Omar, in Boston.”
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