By Scott Whitlock, Newsbusters
All three broadcast networks have, thus far, ignored the special treatment given to Onyango Obama, Barack Obama’s illegal uncle who was arrested in 2011 on drunk driving. In contrast, however, the Spanish language channel Univision on Wednesday covered the story with a skeptical take about possible “favoritism.”
Onyango Obama will be allowed to stay in the country after a Boston judge reopened his case and intervened. Noticiero Univision reporter Luis Megid noted, “Onyango had a lot of luck, but there are those who ask if he would have had it if he hadn’t been the President’s uncle.” Megid then featured an unidentified woman on the street who bluntly concluded, “I believe it has been favoritism.” The journalist wondered, “What probability does a person with a deportation order have that his case would be re-opened?” [See Spanish language video below. MP3 audio here.]
Immigration lawyer Paula Solorio responded: “Almost none, because when Immigration detains a person with an old deportation order, the government is going to execute the earlier order.”
She added, “Obama’s uncle had the luck of getting an agreement with the U.S. ICE prosecutor to re-open the case. That’s what happened. For any other person, the government is going to execute the order.”
Univision should be commended for offering a comprehensive report for their Spanish-language viewers. ABC, CBS and NBC couldn’t be bothered.
On Wednesday afternoon, White House spokesman Jay Carney changed the administration’s official story and admitted that the President briefly lived with Onyango in the 1980s. Will the networks finally follow-up?
[Thanks to MRC’s Ken Oliver for the Spanish transcript and translation.]
Noticiero Univision (Univision National Nightly Newscast)
JORGE RAMOS: A federal immigration judge authorized permission for Onyango ‘Omar’ Obama, an uncle of President Obama, to legally remain in the country, where he has lived since the 1960s. The Judge indicated that the President’s family member, born 69 years ago in Kenya, is a good neighbor who pays his taxes, and as Luis Megid tells us, his case sets a precedent for others to also seek legal permanent residence.
LUIS MEGID: He’s lived as an undocumented immigrant for more than 40 years, more than 20 challenging a deportation order and two since he was arrested on drunk driving charges. But Onyango Obama today can breath a sigh of relief. An immigration court in Boston re-opened his case and allowed him to legally remain in the country.
MARGARET WONG, LAWYER FOR Onyango OBAMA: Now he got to stay and with a green card become a citizen.
MEGID: Smiling, his lawyer says he will be given residency and eventually can become a citizen. Onyango had a lot of luck, but there are those who ask if he would have had it if he hadn’t been the President’s Uncle.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN ON THE STREET: I believe it has been favoritism.
WONG: I wish we had got special treatment, but we didn’t.”
MEGID: The lawyer denies there was favoritism for being a relative of the President, though others doubt that. But let’s see. What probability does a person with a deportation order have that his case would be re-opened?
PAULA SOLORIO, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: Almost none, because when Immigration detains a person with an old deportation order, the government is going to execute the earlier order.
MEGID: Some experts go even farther.
SOLORIO: Obama’s uncle had the luck of getting an agreement with the U.S. ICE prosecutor to re-open the case. That’s what happened. For any other person, the government is going to execute the order.
MEGIDTo be fair, it is difficult to prove that cases are never re-opened. What is known is that it is more the exception than the rule. The uncle is not the only relative of President Obama who has lived here as an undocumented immigrant. Some years ago the case of his aunt came up, who was also living in the country without papers. She also got her situation fixed when the immigration court gave her asylum. The White House has not made any commentary about the case of Onyango Obama. In San Francisco, Luis Megid, Univision.
David Jackson, USA TODAY
Two years after saying President Obama had not met an uncle who faced deportation, the White House said Thursday that Obama lived briefly with him back in the 1980s.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Obama met Onyango Obama when he arrived in Cambridge, Mass., in the late 1980s to attend Harvard Law School; Obama stayed briefly with his uncle until his new apartment was ready.
Carney said the White House staff based its 2011 claim that the two had never met on a review of the documentary record — including Obama’s memoir — and had not asked the president himself.
When the issue resurfaced this week, Carney said, “I thought it was the right thing to do to go ask him (Obama). Nobody had asked him in the past.”
On Tuesday, an immigration judge ruled that the Kenya-born Onyango Obama could stay in the United States, saying he met the criteria for legal permanent residency.
During the hearing, Onyango Obama — the half-brother of the president’s father — claimed a relationship with his famous nephew.
The president and his uncle have not stayed in touch, Carney said.
“The president has not seen Omar Obama in 20 years and has not spoken with him in roughly 10 years,” Carney said.
Carney also repeated that the White House had “absolutely zero” involvement in the uncle’s deportation case.
From The Boston Globe, which first reported the story:
“President Obama acknowledged on Thursday that he lived with his Kenyan uncle for a brief period in the 1980s while preparing to attend Harvard Law School, contradicting a statement more than a year ago that the White House had no record of the two ever meeting.
“Their relationship came into question on Tuesday at the deportation hearing of his uncle, Onyango Obama, in Boston immigration court. His uncle had lived in the United States illegally since the 1970s and revealed in testimony for the first time that his famous nephew had stayed at his Cambridge apartment for about three weeks. At the time, Onyango Obama was here illegally and fighting deportation.
“On Thursday, a White House official said the press office had not fully researched the relationship between the president and his uncle before telling the Globe that they had no record of the two meeting. This time, the press office asked the president directly, which they had not done in 2011.”
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