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Obama’s uncle granted permanent resident status

 Onyango Obama, uncle of President Barack Obama, leaves Framingham District Court, after a hearing on an August drunk driving charge. Obama, the 69-year-old half brother of the president's late father, was granted permanent resident status at a deportation hearing Tuesday in Boston. He has lived in the United States since the 1960s. He was ordered to leave the country in 1992, but remained. AP Photo/MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh, File

Onyango Obama, uncle of President Barack Obama, leaves Framingham District Court, after a hearing on an August drunk driving charge. Obama, the 69-year-old half brother of the president's late father, was granted permanent resident status at a deportation hearing Tuesday in Boston. He has lived in the United States since the 1960s. He was ordered to leave the country in 1992, but remained. AP Photo/MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh, File

BOSTON — An immigration judge on Tuesday halted the deportation of President Barack Obama’s Kenyan-born uncle and granted him status as a legal permanent resident.

Onyango Obama, half brother of the president’s late father, came to the United States in 1963 from Kenya on a student visa that expired in 1970. He’s been living in the country unlawfully ever since.

“He’s so happy to stay here because he loves this country,” Margaret Wong, Onyango Obama’s attorney, said in a telephone interview after the court hearing.

During the hearing, Wong asked the 69-year-old liquor store manager whether he had any relatives in America. Obama said he had a sister, two nieces and a nephew.

Asked to name the nephew, he replied, “Barack Obama. He’s the president of the United States.”

Judge Leonard Shapiro ruled from the bench that Onyango Obama qualified for a provision in federal immigration law that allows immigrants who have lived in the United States since before 1972 and have “good moral character” to apply for legal permanent residency, also known as a “green card.”

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