Networks Skip Special Treatment for Obama's Illegal Uncle, But Univision Hits 'Favoritism'
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?" [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.]
An English translation and the original Spanish transcript can be found below:
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.
Jorge Ramos: Un juez federal de inmigracion otorgo permiso que Onyango "Omar" Obama, un tio del presidente Barack Obama, continue en el pais legalmente donde reside desde la decada desde los aos 60. El juez sealó que el familiar del mandatario nacido hace 69 aos en Kenia es un buen vecino paga sus impuestos y como nos cuenta Luis Megid su caso sienta precedentes para que otros pueden pedir también la residencia legal permanente.
Luis Megid Hace mas de 40 aos que vive como indocumentado, por lo menos 20 desafiando una orden de deportacion y dos desde que lo arrestaron por manejar después de haber bebido. Pero Onyango Obama hoy puede respirar tranquilo. Una corte de inmigración en Boston reabrió su caso y le permitó quedarse legalmente en el país.
Margaret Wong: (abogada de Onyango Obama): Now he got to stay and with a green card become a citizen." Sonriente, su abogada dice que le darán la residencia y eventualmente se podrá hacer ciudadano. Onyango tuvo mucha suerte, pero hay quienes se preguntan si la hubiese tenido de no ser el tío del presidente Obama.
Mujer no identificada: Yo creo que ha sido favoritismo.
Wong: I wish we got special treatment, but we didn't." La abogada niega que haya habido favoritismo por ser familiar del presidente, aunque otros lo dudan. Pero vamos a ver. Qué probabilidades tiene una persona con una orden de deportacion de que reabran su caso?
Paula Solorio, abogada de inmigración: Casi ninguna, porque cuando la Inmigración detiene una persona con una orden antigua de deportacion, el gobierno va a ejecutar la orden anterior.
Megid: Algunos expertos legales van todavía mas lejos.
Solorio: El tío de Obama tenía la suerte de conseguir el acuerdo del fiscal, del U.S. ICE, para reabrir ese caso. Es lo que sucedió. Para cualquiera otra persona, el gobierno va a ejecutar la orden.
Megid: Para ser justos, es dificil probar que nunca se reabran casos. Lo que sí se sabe es que es
más la excepción que la regla. El tío no es el único familiar del presidente Obama que ha vivido aquí como indocumentado. Hace unos aos surgió el caso de la tía, que también estaba viviendo en el país sin papeles. Ella también pudo arreglar cuando la corte de inmigración le dio el asilo. La Casa Blanca no ha hecho ningún comentario sobre el caso de Onyango Obama. En San Francisco, Luis Megid, Univision.
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.