Zachary Roth has been doing some important reporting on the leak of Obama's aunt's immigration status. This marks the second time in the past month or so that a law enforcement official has leaked privileged information to the AP in a manner that could affect the election, the first being the leak about an alleged FBI investigation of ACORN. Roth points out that those privacy regulations regarding immigration status, especially in cases where the individual is seeking asylum, are kept private for a reason.

In other words, the leak could well increase the chances that Onyango could be tortured or persecuted for seeking asylum in the U.S. if she is ultimately deported to Kenya. Or that her family members could be similarly mistreated, whether or not she's deported. And thanks to that very danger, the leak could even bolster Onyango's asylum claim.

It's not clear how long Zeituni Onyango has been living in the United States, so it's hard to determine the reason why she left Kenya and whether or not her life would still be in danger if she were forced to leave the United States, but the rules are in place to prevent states from retaliating against citizens who have left seeking asylum. Last year, Kenya was wracked by violence over the results of their national election, a conflict that was fueled by longtime ethnic tension between the Luo and Kikuyu, but the country has since stabilized.

--A. Serwer

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