Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Obama’s uncle wins new bid to stay in US
He gets new hearing, immigration lawyers surprised
Boston Globe Staff Writer - 4 December 2012
President Obama’s uncle has won a new deportation hearing in Boston immigration court, more than a year after a drunk-driving arrest in Framingham revealed that he had violated a longstanding order to return to Kenya.
Last week, the Board of ­Immigration Appeals granted Onyango Obama’s request to ­reopen his immigration case based in part on his contention that his prior lawyer was ­ineffective, according to a government official with direct knowledge of the case. Obama’s new lawyers have also argued that the 68-year-old Obama has lived in the United States for nearly half a century and ­deserves a chance to make his case.
Brian P. Hale — spokesman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is prosecuting the deportation — confirmed that the board has reopened the case but declined to elaborate.
The board’s decision raised eyebrows among immi­gration lawyers who say it is difficult to persuade the immi­gration courts to reconsider a case that involves an arrest and a flagrant violation of a depor­tation order, last issued in 1992.
Framingham police arrested Obama for drunken driving in August 2011 and he later admit­ted in court that prosecutors had sufficient facts to bring the charge against him. But the drunk driving charge will be dismissed as long as he complies with terms of his sentence, including a year of probation that ends in March.
“With an outstanding order and a legally fuzzy plea, it’s pretty unusual for the board to reopen” an immigration case, said Crystal Williams, executive director of the Washington-based American Immigration Lawyers Association. “It’s not unheard of, but it’s pretty ­unusual.”
Scott Bratton, one of Obama’s lawyers at the Margaret Wong law firm in Cleveland, said Monday night, “We are obviously extremely pleased with the board’s decision. This will allow him to pursue his application for permanent resident status.”
Lauren Alder Reid, the courts’ chief counsel for legislative and public affairs, said she could not comment on the immi­gration case or say when a hearing would be scheduled because case information is generally protected by federal privacy provisions, unless the immigrant or his representative ­authorizes its release.
Because immigration court records are generally closed to the public, it is unclear what evi­dence the board reviewed to support Obama’s claim that his lawyer was ineffective. The government official who provided the reasons behind the board’s decision spoke on condition of anonymity because that person was not authorized to speak to reporters.
However, prior immigration judges’ rulings in Obama’s case obtained by the Globe under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Board of Immigration Appeals criticized his lawyer, Joseph F. O’Neil, in 1992 for failing to file a legal brief to support Obama’s ­appeal.
About a year ago, Obama’s  Auntie Zetuni received permission to remain in the U.S. and to stay in subsidized public housing while she applied for permanent residency status even though she was living here in an undocumented status. Now, we have Uncle Onyango being granted a new hearing on his case even though he has been living here for “nearly a half century in an undocumented status and has ignored a court issued deportation order since 1992”. The most recent charge against Uncle Onyango is drunken driving, a felonious charge not a simple immigration violation.
It is nothing short of an abomination that these types of “special favors” can be given to relatives of powerful politicians while other persons who are living here in the same unenviable immigration status are being subjected to apprehension, detention for long periods in prisons with hardened criminals, and eventually deported for the most insignificant of misdemeanors most of which are related to their immigration status and are not felonies in the eyes of the law.
The unfortunate people caught up in these situations are also barred from legal re-entry to the United States for ten years. What is wrong with this picture?
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

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