Reopening the Case
During the 2008 presidential election, it came to light that Zeituni Onyango, President Barack Obama’s aunt, was in the U.S. illegally. At the time, she already had a removal order from several years before. In 2004, an Immigration Judge denied her previous Asylum claim. She worried about rising levels of ethnic violence in her native Kenya. Our office prepared a motion to reopen that would allow her to apply for asylum. To prepare for the motion, our team did extensive research. The motion set forth detailed reasons why reopening was warranted and also addressed several serious problems with her prior hearing. The Immigration Judge granted the motion to reopen. Because of this, Ms. Onyango could file a new application for Asylum.
Hearing and Asylum
The hearing was February 4, 2010. We assembled several hundred pages of exhibits and prepared to present the best asylum case possible. The Department of Homeland Security vigorously presented its position that Ms. Onyango was not entitled to asylum. The hearing on the application took most of the day. The Immigration Judge then asked that each side submit closing briefs addressing their position. Both parties submitted very thorough briefs setting forth their arguments. Upon consideration of the briefs and evidence, the Immigration Judge issued a nearly 30-page opinion granting Ms. Onyango asylum in May 2010. She has already received her employment authorization and will be eligible to apply for her Green Card in May 2011.
Our team fought extremely hard for this case that resulted in Ms. Onyango being able to legally remain in the United States. Scott Bratton was lead counsel in the case. Margaret Wong herself was also the attorney of record and personally worked on all aspects of the case including the hearings. Ms. Onyango and President Obama placed their trust in our firm and we did not let them down; it was an honor to help.
Margaret W. Wong on President Obama’s Aunt
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