"A federal immigration judge ruled Tuesday that President Obama’s uncle can remain in the United States, sparing him deportation to his native Kenya in a case that riveted attention on the elderly man who had lived under the radar in this country for 50 years. For most of that time, he was here illegally.
Boston immigration Judge Leonard I. Shapiro said Onyango “Omar” Obama can now get a green card, and in five years, apply for US citizenship, unless the Department of Homeland Security appeals the case within 30 days.
“Congratulations,” Shapiro said after he announced his decision. “Welcome to America.”
The case stirred controversy because the president’s uncle was arrested in 2011 for drunken driving in Framingham and was found to have an outstanding deportation order from 1992. Many accused the government of giving him special treatment at the same time President Obama is deporting record numbers of illegal immigrants.
But Shapiro said Onyango Obama was eligible for a green card under federal immigration law because he arrived in America before 1972 and had displayed “good moral character.” The judge said the 69-year-old paid taxes, volunteered in the community, and was a “kind and decent” person.
During his testimony, Obama begged the judge for the chance to stay, saying he did not know Kenya anymore. He left at age 19 to come to the United States.
“America is a land of opportunities, a land of chances,” Obama told the judge." - Boston Globe, Dec. 3, 2013.