A top House Republican claims President Obama is instituting a “double standard” after the president’s uncle, who was arrested last month following a drunk driving incident, was quietly released from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement [ICE] custody.
Onyango Obama, the president’s father’s half-brother, was arrested in Framington, Mass., August 24 for driving under the influence, driving to endanger and failing to use a turn signal when he allegedly told a police officer, “I think I will call the White House” to arrange bail. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, Onyango Obama is not in the country legally and has a final order of removal pending from 1992, so he was detained by ICE. He has since been released, drawing the ire of the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.
“It appears there is a double standard — one for President Obama’s family and one for everyone else,” Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, noted in a statement today. ”Last year, President Obama’s illegal immigrant aunt was granted asylum and now his illegal immigrant uncle has been released from ICE custody, even though he was arrested by authorities for drunk driving.”
Smith blames several changes to the country’s deportation policy and says the president’s “illegal immigrant uncle might be one of the first illegal immigrants to benefit from it.”
“President Obama’s uncle is a test case for why this new policy is a threat to the American people,” Smith said. “President Obama’s backdoor amnesty allows drunk-driving illegal immigrants like his uncle to remain in the U.S. His immigration policies are a risk to both public safety and American lives. Why should citizens and legal immigrants be threatened by drunk driving illegal immigrants when the administration can deport them?”
White House press secretary Jay Carney said that President Obama first learned of his uncle’s arrest when Carney brought it to his attention on August 29.
“He became aware of this story when I walked into his office and, among other subjects, mentioned it to him.” Carney said Sept. 1, adding that the White House expected “it to be handled like any other immigration case.”
Asked about Onyango Obama’s release, a request for comment was not immediately returned by officials from ICE.
Update: On Sept. 12, Brian P. Hale, Director of Public Affairs, ICE, confirmed Onyango Obama’s Sept. 8 release and said he is required to regularly check in with ICE authorities.
“In most immigration cases, unless an alien has signed a privacy waiver, ICE will not discuss specifics except to confirm a detainer, arrest, voluntary departure, or removal of an alien,” Hale wrote in a statement to ABC News. “In light of the public interest in this case, ICE confirms Mr. Obama was released from ICE custody on Sept. 8th on an order of supervision. He will be required to regularly check in with ICE authorities.”