According to the Boston Globe, immigration Judge Leonard I. Shapiro set the date at a short preliminary hearing Wednesday. After ward, Obama’s lawyer, Scott Bratton, said he will ask the judge to grant Obama legal residency, in part because he has lived here for so many years.
“Everybody wants to stay in America,’’ said Bratton, who is based in Cleveland. “Hopefully, on Dec. 3, the case will be over.’’
Obama, a 68-year-old liquor store manager, came to America at age 19 in 1963 to attend an elite boys’ school in Cambridge. He gained renown as a soccer star, but soon dropped out of school and was ordered deported several times, most recently in 1992.
But he never left and lived under the radar until Framingham police arrested him in August 2011 on drunken driving charges. Obama admitted to sufficient facts in the criminal case and was sentenced to a year’s probation, after which the case would be dismissed. Then, in November, the Board of Immigration Appeals reopened his immigration case, based in part on his assertion that his prior lawyer, now dead, was ineffective.
Wednesday, few in Shapiro’s packed courtroom noticed when the president’s uncle arrived dressed in a brown jacket and sneakers and took a seat in the front row. He waited for more than an hour with more than 30 immigrants from Pakistan, Guatemala, Uganda, their faces creased with tension over the threat of being deported.
As Obama watched, Shapiro gave one woman until May to leave the United States or face forcible deportation, similar to the kind of warning an immigration appeals board gave Obama himself in 1992.
“If you don’t leave then, you’ll be ordered to be deported,” Shapiro warned the woman, “and you don’t want to have that happen.”
It is unclear why Obama was never deported. His immigration history is murky because court files are private, but judges’ decisions obtained by the Globe under the Freedom of Information Act show that he was first ordered deported in 1986 because he had no legal basis to stay in the United States. He was ordered deported again in 1989 and lost an appeal to stay in the country in 1992.