Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) said Tuesday that Onyango Obama, President Obama's long-lost uncle, should be deported from the United States after being arrested last week on drunk driving charges.
"Well, yeah. He's here illegally. He's obviously broken the law. I don't know enough about the details of the case, but, God, he's been running around for how long now?" Brown said in an interview on the Howie Carr Show. "Let him go through the process and see what happens."
Onyango Obama, 67, was arrested last Wednesday when he nearly rammed his SUV into a police car in Framingham, Mass. When asked if he would like to make a phone call, Onyango reportedly said, "I think I will call the White House."
The White House said last week that the president was unaware that his uncle was in the United States illegally, and would not intervene on his behalf.
"We expect it to be treated — and I refer you to ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and DHS [the Department of Homeland Security] — like any other immigration case," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Onyango came to the United States to attend school, but ultimately dropped out. He was ordered to leave the country in 1992, but remained in the country and has worked at a liquor store for the past five years.
Onyango has pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from his drunk driving arrest, and is currently being held in a Plymouth County, Mass., jail. Onyango's lawyer said that he will fight a potential deportation, arguing that he has been in the United States for nearly 50 years.
During the 2008 campaign, Zeituni Onyango — Obama's aunt — was found to be living as an illegal immigrant in public housing in South Boston. "Aunt Zeituni" had sought political asylum in 2002, but was ultimately denied. After a series of legal appeals, she was granted a waiver of deportation in 2010, in a decision that angered many anti-immigration activists.
Brown is currently enjoying a modest lead over possible Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren in the 2012 Massachusetts Senate race. Forty-four percent of voters favor Brown, versus 35 percent for Warren, according to a WBUR poll released Tuesday.