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Just found this one on Facebook. The people making the claim have 11k page likes (26th November 2012).

Barack Obama's Aunt

She lived in a homeless shelter for 2 years.
Lived in Government housing for 10 years.
As an illegal alien.
Her nephew is a multimillionaire.
He claimed $87,000 in charitable donations.
But never gave her a dime.
His name is Barack Obama.

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@Mark, if it truly has 11,000 Likes, the notability is clear. –  Oddthinking Nov 26 '12 at 8:07
Oh what a deeply reprehensible piece of propaganda. The facts might be right but their juxtaposition serves to smear someone’s reputation with vague accusations even though there’ no actual justification for that. –  Konrad Rudolph Nov 26 '12 at 16:26
@KonradRudolph - I agree. The facts are all correct, but we have absolutely no information on the interpersonal relationship between Barack and his half-aunt. –  MCM Nov 26 '12 at 18:48
My question to this is "So What?". I have a relative through marriage that is in prison for prostitution and drug charges. Does that mean anything about me? I also have another half-sister's relation that is extremely poor and on welfare. Am I obliged to help her even though I have never had contact with her? Seems like it's just muck raking and appealing to the lowest, most ignorant denominator... –  user19555 Mar 25 at 13:46
@EvanCarroll I would contend that the "truth" of the statement is immaterial to the agenda being promoted, hence why it's, what we like to call in the skeptical community, a strawman. –  user19555 Mar 25 at 18:53

1 Answer 1

up vote 19 down vote accepted

That's largely right. Her name is Zeituni Onyango.

  1. She lived in a homeless shelter for 2 years. source

    Zeituni Onyango, blamed “the system’’ for her controversial living arrangement in Boston public housing as an illegal immigrant

  2. Lived in government housing for 10 years.

    This source covers 2004-2010 source

    Onyango moved to the United States in 2000. Her first asylum request was rejected, and she was ordered deported in 2004. But she did not leave the country and continued to live in public housing in Boston.

  3. As an illegal alien. source

    Onyango's status as an illegal immigrant was revealed just days before Obama was elected in November 2008.

  4. Her 'nephew' is a multimillionare.

    Yes, he's a multimillionaire. source

    In 2009, the president’s taxable income was about $5.5 million

    However, to be precise, he is her half-nephew. source

    Kenya native Zeituni Onyango, 57, is the half-sister of Obama's late father

  5. He has claimed $87,000 in charitable contributions.

    The year isn't specified. In recent years, the number is much higher. source

    In 2010, for instance, [...] he gave $245,075 in gifts to charity. [...]

    In 2009, [... he] listed $329,100 in charitable contributions on his tax return and also directed the Nobel Prize Committee to give his $1.4 million prize directly to 10 charities


    2005: $77,315 to charity out of income of $1.66 million (4.6 percent)

    2004: $2,500 out of $207,647 (1.2 percent)

    2003: $3,400 out of $238,327 (1.4 percent)

    2002: $1,050 out of $259,394 (0.4 percent)

  6. But never gave her a dime. source

    "Nor, has [Obama] stepped in financially to get her off of public assistance."

  7. His name is Barack Obama. (this is kind of given and undisputed.)

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I was thinking "this has to be false, right?" But apparently not! –  Andrew Grimm Nov 26 '12 at 12:21
On point 3, "As an illegal alien", if an immigration court granted her asylum in 2010, that may suggest she was not previously an illegal alien even if an earlier court thought she was. If the details of the decision have not been published, we may never know. –  Henry Feb 15 '14 at 22:20

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