Reporting Jim Armstrong
FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – Onyango Obama was on the job as usual tonight, managing a Framingham liquor store.
Also as usual, he doesn’t want to talk about his complicated residency status and the problems that accompany it.
When WBZ-TV asked him for a brief interview, he responded, “I don’t have time to talk to anybody” and would say no more.
As of Friday, the biological half-uncle of President Barack Obama will be able to legally obtain a Massachusetts driver’s license, even though he’s living in the country illegally.
He lost his license in March, after pleading out to drunk driving charges. He’s been driving on a special hardship license since then anyway.
“The outrageous nature of this situation keeps getting worse and worse and worse,” says State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, who just this afternoon introduced an amendment requiring the RMV to verify immigration status before issuing a license. The issue is set to be discussed at the State House at the end of May.
Tarr says his office is receiving plenty of angry calls from constituents, since Obama is “about to walk into the Registry of Motor Vehicles and be eligible for a permanent license based on the fact that he’s somehow here legally, which isn’t the case.”
The RMV says it only has to ask for a Social Security Number, which Obama has.
In a statement to WBZ this afternoon, MassDOT’s Press Secretary Sara Lavoie explained that “Mr. Obama was granted a hardship [license] by the RMV after meeting the criteria that all operators in MA have to satisfy to get a hardship license after a first offense OUI … There have not been any changes made to these terms and conditions since issuance. Mr. Obama has been licensed since at least the early 1990′s, which is the earliest our records show.”
For Senator Tarr, that’s the wrong answer.
“This is a very direct case,” he explains. “An individual who is here illegally is the subject of a final deportation order, [yet] is eligible according to our state government for a driver’s license. We shouldn’t have to study that for a long time before we take action. If the registrar is suggesting that she doesn’t have the power because she’s only required to ask for certain things, we’re saying, add another thing to the list: ‘Are you in this country legally?’ It’s an easy fix.”