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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It’s not what you know; it’s who you are related to…

For those that regularly follow my blog, you know I usually stick to my areas of expertise, terrorism, international relations, war, insurgencies, and the military, with an odd, off-the-wall post for things such as the Super Bowl and World Cup. Today I take up one of the biggest issues facing our country, immigration, specifically illegal immigration.

Barack Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, his father’s sister from Kenya, came to the U.S. in 2000 illegally. In 2002 she applied for asylum and in 2004 her claim was denied. She was subsequently ordered deported in 2004, an order she flatly refused to accept. This effectively means she broke the law twice; first entering the U.S. as an illegal alien and second for refusing to follow a federal court order. Instead, she somehow obtained public housing, of course funded by law abiding taxpayers, in Boston.

Until 2008 and the presidential election season no one paid any attention to Ms. Onyango or her illegal status. Once her status became public Obama had to answer many questions regarding what role, if any, he would play in her situation. Obama claimed then, and continues to claim, that neither he nor anyone in his family will seek to sway the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the immigration court one way or the other. Obviously this is a ridiculous assertion. He is the President of the United States. He has the power to hire and fire political appointees and anyone seeking to curry favor with him, regardless if they are appointees or civil servants, will obviously not need to be told directly what outcome Obama desires for his aunt. It’s called plausible deniability; doing something the president wants done without having to be told so that the president can claim he knew nothing about the decision or the action taken.

In its infancy the United States, being so vast and full of natural, seemingly endless resources, was considered the “go to” location for the oppressed and downtrodden of other countries. In the early years, due to the availability of work in an agrarian economy and the unexplored land up for grabs, immigration was not the critical issue it is today. Our Founding Fathers did not see our great country as a massive welfare state, thus they were unconcerned with creating a national budget that included funds for unemployment benefits or universal medical coverage, nor were areas such as state-provided medicine or public education impacted by an overabundance of users.

For some reason, there are those that believe the passage,

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


is a part of our Founding Fathers’ vision. It is actually a sonnet by Emma Lazarus entitled “The New Colossus” and is inscribed on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty; it was not written or uttered by any of our Founding Fathers or Mothers. Contrary to what some would like to believe, this passage is not a legal authority, like the Constitution, nor does it have any legal bearing on immigration law. These words are simply words of hope for those seeking to come to America and should in no way connote a legal authority to be allowed to come here.

Another argument is that we are all immigrants and we all came here illegally. This argument does not hold water; you cannot equate the environment of our forefathers four to five hundred years ago with our environment in the 21st century. Besides, something is only illegal when there are legal barriers to doing whatever it is one is doing. In other words, even as early as three centuries ago America was not a sovereign state and the occupants, Native Americans, here had no unified legal body or authority barring Europeans from coming to and settling in America. This has obviously changed over time.

The fact that Ms. Onyango is related to the current president and that that relationship played a role in her being allowed to remain in the U.S. since being located and coming to the public’s attention in October 2008 after being ordered deported four years earlier cannot be denied. No sooner was Obama elected than the immigration court judge, Leonard Shapiro, took “the unusual step of reopening the matter and issuing a stay on her deportation.”

Last month Ms. Onyango was granted asylum and is now allowed to remain in the U.S. Unfortunately, at Ms. Onyango’s request her immigration proceedings were closed to the public, so we will not know just what defense was used to overturn the deportation order. Exactly what, or who, did she have to hide from public scrutiny? According to immigration law experts the most obvious defense, that Ms. Onyango could face persecution in Kenya due to her relationship to Obama, would be very difficult to prove, especially since there are other Obama relatives living in Kenya, none of whom, at least so far, are claiming fear of persecution. Maybe this was the test case and we may yet see a rush by Obama’s Kenyan relatives seeking asylum in the U.S. Additionally, immigration statistics show that it is very rare for Kenyans to receive fear-based asylum. Another potential defense is that she has a medical condition and it would be best if she remained in the U.S. This, too, establishes a bad precedent for illegal aliens to take advantage of in their bid to remain in the U.S., not to mention this means our tax dollars, which Ms. Onyango has never contributed, will be used to take care of her medical coverage.

Yesterday Congressman Steve King (R-IA) requested that Ms. Onyango testify before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law on Thursday in an effort to ascertain what role, if any, favoritism played in the recent granting of asylum for Obama’s aunt. I, for one, hope she is required to testify. Of course, she has broken the American laws before, so there is no guarantee she will show if subpoenaed. I wonder if the Obama administration could claim executive privilege to keep her from having to testify, especially if they had something to do with the reversal.

As the people paying her bills the American public deserves to know how she was able to convince the immigration court to overturn her deportation order. While I absolutely do not agree with the presence of any illegal alien in the U.S., I honestly believe other illegal aliens in the U.S. deserve to know just what was so special about Ms. Onyango’s case that saw the previous decision reversed. If any group of people should be outraged at the ultimate decision by Judge Shapiro it should be other illegal aliens.

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