Auntie Zeituni Onyango: The Most Ungrateful Immigrant?

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

September 27, 2010
In my 25 year career as an adult education English as a second language instructor in California, I taught legal and illegal immigrant students from all over the world. After very little time on my job, I noticed they had one thing in common: a sense of entitlement that the free education they and their children received as well as the emergency medical benefits, pre- and postnatal care, legal aide, subsidized housing, food stamps and WIC are owed to them. As far as they’re concerned, it’s “the deal.” Come to America; board the gravy train. In one sense, you could say, “Well of course the immigrants feel that way. Ever since they put a foot on American soil, those programs are automatically made available to them.” But, I have a different take. What I soon learned was that many immigrants can never be satisfied, no matter how many benefits are heaped on them. Despite the numerous costly free social services offered, invariably they want more. Other illegal alien demands, some successful, included accepting as valid identification the matricula consular card, issuing driver’s licenses, passing the DREAM Act that would reduce in-state university tuition and, among the most extreme advocates, voting rights. The biggest plum, still elusive, is amnesty for all illegal aliens. Understandably, citizens soon grow disgusted with the hands out approach. No immigrant is wearing us out faster than President Barack Obama’s Auntie Zeituni. Formerly an illegal alien visa overstayer who recently was granted asylum by Judge Leonard I. Shapiro, Zeituni Onyango has been milking the system and thumbing her nose at taxpayers since 2000. A week ago, Boston CBS affiliate WBZ interviewed Onyango. Rarely has an immigrant spoken so candidly and obnoxiously about what, as seen though her eyes, America owes her. Onyango, who ignored a 2004 order of deportation, lives in Boston public housing and collects about $700 monthly in disability. During her years as an illegal alien, Onyango was not “in the shadows.” In 2005, she attended her nephew’s swearing in as an Illinois junior Senator. Then, in 2008, with the entire nation looking on, Auntie Zeituni traveled to Washington D.C. for Obama’s inauguration. Here are eye-popping excerpts from her exchange with reporter Jonathan Elias. "If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen." "I didn't take any advantage of the system. The system took advantage of me." "It's nice to live here. You can do whatever you want when you live here." Toward the end of the interview, Elias pressed harder. Asked why taxpayers should be burdened by subsidizing her life style, Onyango answered abrasively: "This country is owned by almighty God. You people who preach Jesus Christ almighty God and the rest of it, you are here to help people, help the poor, help other countries and help women. That's what the United States is supposed to do? And you have to give me my right light, every person's right." Onyango’s haughty attitude is similar to that of many of my former students. When given the chance to express gratitude for the opportunities and benefits made available to them, they took a pass. Instead, they reaffirmed that they’re entitled to everything they can get. Those of us paying the bill, however, have a different view. We want immigration law enforced, tighter restrictions on legal immigration including asylum and refugee policy and illegal aliens deported.
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