01 November 2008

Obama's Aunt

LATER UPDATE: The Obama campaign has commented.

LATE UPDATE: Josh Marshall thinks the leak came from the Bush Admin and is illegal.

UPDATE: Plenty of grist from the right. And here. It's worth noting that Malkin's post portrays Aunt Zeituni's total contributions to the Obama campaign ($260) as a big deal. "Will the Obama campaign return the many donations from this illegal alien?"

Jeebus. What next? Photos of Obama with Ayers, Rezko, Wright, and Aunty Zeituni?

Is Barack Obama's aunt about to become a footnote in political history? This AP story certainly leads one to believe it's possible.

In a nutshell, Obama's father's half-sister, Zeituni Onyango, has been living illegally in South Boston since a judge refused her asylum request in 2004. How she managed to stay this long under the radar, and how she managed to qualify for public housing without legal status, are both mysteries.

In an interesting aside, according to the piece, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has issued a directive making clear that any deportation orders between now and Tuesday must be made known to regional supervisors. Neither ICE nor either of the campaigns has commented on Onyango's status.

If a deportation order comes between now and Tuesday, then Obama will find himself in a politically unsavory situation. In the event of such an order being issued, the nation will either watch Obama stand aside as his family member is forcibly removed from the country, or the nation will watch as Obama inserts himself into the affair in order to keep his aunt here. Neither of these seems like where the candidate wants to be in the final 72 hours of the campaign.

Of course, the order may not come, and thus Obama's aunt won't be the political wedge (cudgel) she could be. But after this election season, I would be shocked if the McCain campaign passes on this opportunity to at least ratchet up some pressure on Obama. It's unknown where the news about Onyango leaked from.

At the same time, after this campaign season, I'd say I'm encouraged that Obama and the campaign may be ready to deal with just about anything. And perhaps nothing moves as quickly as I imagine. Knock wood. And stay tuned.