by John Hawkins | January 26, 2009 8:56 am
George Bush was originally responsible for protecting Barack Obama’s aunt from having to obey America’s laws, but now Barack Obama is the one shielding her from deportation,
“The Homeland Security Department still is requiring high-level approval before federal immigration agents can arrest fugitives, a rule quietly imposed by the Bush administration days before the election of Barack Obama, whose aunt has been living in the United States illegally.
The unusual directive from the Homeland Security Department came amid concerns that such arrests might generate “negative media or congressional interest,” according to a newly disclosed federal document obtained by The Associated Press.
The directive makes clear that U.S. officials worried about possible election implications of arresting Zeituni Onyango, the half-sister of Obama’s late father, who at the time was living in public housing in Boston. She is now believed to be living in Cleveland.
A copy of the directive, “Fugitive Case File Vetting Prior to Arrest,” was released to the AP just over two months after it was requested under the Freedom of Information Act. It does not mention President Obama or any members of his extended family.
The directive is still in place, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Kelly Nantel told the AP. It originally was distributed Oct. 31 by e-mail to immigration officers by an assistant director at the agency. Obama was elected president five days later. Nantel said the directive called for close supervision over any cases that could be high profile. She said it was not specific to Obama’s relatives.
The White House said late Sunday that Obama “has not contacted any government agency regarding Ms. Onyango’s case, nor has any representative of the president.” It said Obama’s administration wasn’t briefed on why the directive was issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and will consider whether to overturn it.
“Like other rules and directives issued by the previous administration, it will be reviewed and revoked if it does not serve the best interests of the American people,” the White House told the AP.
…Obama’s aunt was instructed to leave the country four years ago by an immigration judge who rejected her request for asylum from her native Kenya. The East African nation has been fractured by violence in recent years, including a period of two months of bloodshed after December 2007 that killed 1,500 people.
Despite the deportation order, Onyango traveled to Washington last week for her nephew’s inauguration. News organizations observed her attending an inaugural ball at Washington’s Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, a historic luxury hotel, with her immigration lawyer, Margaret Wong.
We’re in a recession and Americans are losing their jobs to illegal immigrants and having their salaries driven down. Meanwhile, we’re going deeper into debt as a nation to provide government services to people who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place even as our border patrol officers risk their lives every day trying to keep illegals, drug dealers, and terrorists from getting into our country.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s aunt can’t be detained or deported by ICE, despite the fact that she was ordered to leave the country four years ago. In fact, she’s so sure that being related to Obama makes her untouchable that she had the gall to actually show up in public at his inauguration.
So, now we’re left with a question: do the same laws apply to Barack Obama and his family that apply to everyone else or are they above the law? The answer to that question will tell you a great deal about Obama’s character and quite frankly, using the powers of the presidency to protect his aunt would be an enormous abuse of power, one that should merit impeachment — although it would be difficult to get the Republicans in the Senate to go along with it. For the moment, Obama can use the excuse that he just got into office to dodge this issue, but that excuse won’t hold water for much longer.
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