NEW YORK – Immigration documents filed in 1961 cast doubt on whether Barack Hussein Obama Sr. was the president’s biological father and indicate federal officers were prepared to investigate whether the Kenyan was married to the president’s mother, Ann Dunham.
Aside from the image of a long-form birth certificate released by the White House April 27, 2011 – a document Sheriff Arpaio’s law enforcement investigation has found probable cause to believe is a forgery – what documentary evidence is there that Barack Obama was the biological father?
The recent biography of the president by Washington Post editor and author David Maraniss, “Barack Obama: The Story,” quotes concerns about Obama Sr.’s sexual promiscuity expressed by Immigration and Naturalization Service officers, but he dimisses them as racially motivated.
Maraniss, on pages 162-163, examines a 1961 INS memo that indicates Obama Sr. continued to have multiple girlfriends at the University of Hawaii after his supposed marriage, Feb. 2, 1961, in Maui to Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham.
In the memo, written by a Lyle H. Dahlin, Obama Sr.’s student adviser, a Mrs. McCabe, indicated Obama Sr. was “very intelligent” but had been a “playboy,” “running around with several girls” since he arrived. The adviser also noted he was married to an American, though he already had a wife in Kenya.
Maraniss writes regarding the memo: “There was a fine line between how Obama acted and the racial attitudes and expectations of those who were working with him, the unanswerable but valid question being whether the official concern was heightened because he was a black man interacting with white women.”
However, a close analysis of the INS documents in Obama Sr.’s immigration file makes clear Maraniss either misunderstood the true concerns of the INS or misrepresented them.
The primary concern of the INS, according to the memos, was not that Obama Sr. was sexually involved with white women, but that he might have engaged in a sham marriage to Dunham so he could remain in the U.S. or gain U.S. citizenship.
The INS documents indicate authorized government immigration agents suspected the evidence for an Obama-Dunham marriage was thin, and doubts that the Kenyan was the biological father were substantial.
The Dahlin memo
In the first paragraph of the Dahlin memo, shown below as Exhibit 1 (click on photo to enlarge), the officer poses the question of whether Obama broke any laws if he married Dunham while he was still married to a Kenyan.
Exhibit 1: INS file by Lyle H. Dahlin. Click to enlarge.
Paragraph three articulates the next problem: If Obama was “running around with several girls” at the university, did Obama’s continued promiscuity suggest he was not married to Dunham or that it was a sham marriage?
Evidently, the best McCabe could get out of Obama was a less-than-credible promise that he would “try” to stay away from the girls.
The last two sentences of the third paragraph appear to be Obama’s rebuttal to an accusation of bigamy: He apparently explained to McCabe that he was divorced from his wife in Kenya because Kenya did not require anything more than a husband expressing to his wife a desire to terminate the marriage.
The fourth paragraph dismisses the bigamy concern, explaining Obama was in the United States not as an immigrant seeking U.S. citizenship but on a temporary student visa under which suspicion of polygamy was insufficient to support a deportation charge.
The last paragraph indicates that if Dunham, as a “U.S. citizen wife,” were to petition for Obama Sr. to receive permanent residence status as an immigrant on track to citizenship, the INS should conduct an investigation to make sure the alleged marriage was legitimate.
Contrary to Maraniss’ assertion, the INS officers didn’t appear to be concerned about the interracial nature of the Kenyan’s sexual activities at the university.
What was of concern was that Obama Sr. and Dunham were not living together as husband and wife, and their marriage might have been arranged for immigration purposes.
Under 8 U.S.C. Section 1325(c), current immigration law specifies that any individual who knowingly enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws is subject to up to five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000, or both.
In 1961, the INS, in investigating suspected marriages of convenience, would interview the two individuals separately and ask questions about the personal, often intimate, habits of the alleged mate.
Give the baby to the Salvation Army?
WND previously reported Boston Globe reporter Sally H. Jacobs had access to an INS file in which the memo seen in Exhibit 1 was displayed without redaction.
As seen in Exhibit 2, this version of the letter permits reading of part of the third paragraph.
Exhibit 2: Lyle H. Dahlin memo without redaction. Click to enlarge.
In the third sentence of the third paragraph, the Dahlin memo adds the detail that McCabe reported the Kenyan had gotten Dunham pregnant, a fact that would have been consistent with the marriage being legitimate.
Except, Dahlin adds, McCabe reported that the Kenyan and Dunham did not live together and Obama Sr. and Dunham were contemplating giving the baby away to the Salvation Army.
The facts suggest a sham marriage arranged for immigration purposes only: a supposedly married couple who do not live together, a “husband” with multiple girl friends on the side and a baby neither parent seems determined to raise.
INS suspicion of the marriage is further reinforced by the handwritten note at the end of the memo. Dahlin makes clear an apparent superior officer within the INS section agreed that the facts did not merit deportation for the Kenyan, a non-immigrant student in the USA on a temporary visa. But an investigation would be warranted if he sought to further extend his visa.
Dating the Dahlin memo
The only date on the Dahlin memo is the handwritten April 12, 1961, preceding the handwritten note at the bottom of the document. That date indicates the memo was written while Dunham was pregnant, less than four months before the baby’s birth.
The decision to give away the baby to the Salvation Army after Obama Sr. “got” Dunham pregnant must have caused the INS to wonder precisely what kind of relationship existed between the two.
The memo indicates Obama Sr. might have been testing the waters to see what impact claiming a U.S. citizen wife and a U.S. citizen child would have on the INS. Officials would question whether he was the natural father or if he was merely the “stand-in” father, covering up an embarrassing situation.
If the Kenyan were actually the father and the marriage to Dunham legitimate, why not press the claim that the U.S. citizen wife and the U.S. citizen child established a basis for changing the Kenyan’s status with the INS from a non-immigrant student seeking only a temporary stay to an immigrant seeking permanent residence on the path to becoming a U.S. citizen?
But then, why would Obama Sr., as the biological father, want to give the baby to the Salvation Army if the marriage with Dunham were legitimate?
The Dahlin memo, written while Dunham was pregnant, raises the question of whether or not Obama married Dunham at all.
If the Kenyan merely wanted a sexual relationship with Dunham, why marry her?
There is no evidence he proposed marriage to any of his allegedly many girlfriends at the university, so what made Dunham different?
If he was not committed to living with Dunham and raising the baby, why bother getting married?
Pieced together, the available evidence supports the theory the Obama-Dunham marriage was a cover-up from the start, designed to designate Obama as the father, without any expectation the two would ever live as husband and wife or that he would help raise the baby.
The factual record is that Obama Sr. never used marriage to a U.S. citizen or the fathering of a child in the U.S. to bolster his immigration status, even though it could have enabled him to remain in the U.S. without having to apply for yearly extensions.
Dahlin may well have been instructed by superiors to communicate to Obama Sr. and to Dunham that an attempt to use the marriage and child as a reason to change the Kenyan’s immigration status would have led to a full-scale INS investigation.
Obama’s 1961 application to extend stay in U.S.
Further evidence that the marriage to Dunham was a sham is provided by a close examination of the next document to occur chronologically in Obama Sr.’s INS file – an alien student application to extend the time of a temporary stay in the U.S. and to request permission to accept employment. It was filed with the INS Aug. 31, 1961, as seen below in Exhibits 3 and 4.
Exhibit 3: Barack Obama Sr.’s INS application to extend stay and permit employment, Aug. 31, 1961, page 1. Click to enlarge.
Exhibit 3: Barack Obama Sr.’s INS application to extend stay and permit employment, Aug. 31, 1961, page 2. Click to enlarge.
The document notably was filled out in Honolulu some 28 days after the baby was born.
There is a six-and-a-half-month time period in which there is no record of Dunham’s whereabouts – from Jan. 31, 1961, when she concluded her first semester at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, until Sept. 25, 1961, when the University of Washington at Seattle documents she was enrolled for extension classes on campus.
Nothing in the Dahlin memo documents where Dunham was in April 1961, when it was written.
Interestingly, Obama Sr.’s temporary stay visa expired Aug. 9, 1961, some five days after the baby was born, as indicated by his answer to Box 13.
Clearly, Obama Sr. had to be concerned about the extension of his student visa in April 1961. It would have been convenient to have a U.S. citizen wife and a U.S. citizen child being newly born just as his student visa was expiring.
Yet, the application to extend the temporary stay provides more evidence the story of a U.S. citizen wife and child was not credible. In Box 2, Obama Sr. indicated he was living at 1482 Alencastre Street in Honolulu. However, Dunham was living at her parents home at 6085 Kalanianaole Highway, the address listed in the birth announcements published in the Honolulu newspapers.
The INS would have regarded the fact the supposed parents did not live together as additional evidence the alleged marriage was a marriage of convenience arranged to commit immigration fraud.
Even more interesting, in the extension of Box 7, the Kenyan blacked out the first name he wrote for his wife, then penciled in “Ann S. Dunham, Honolulu, Hawaii.” Her named, however, was Stanley Ann Dunham, or S. Ann Dunham.
Then, in the space below Box 7, Obama Sr. did not list Barack Hussein Obama II as his son – an omission that is hard to understand if the child supposedly was born earlier that month.
The Woods memo
An additional document from Obama Sr.’s INS file is relevant: a handwritten memo dated Aug. 31, 1961, by William Wood, as seen in Exhibit 5.
Exhibit 5: Barack Obama Sr. INS File, Woods Memo, Aug. 31, 1961. Click to enlarge.
The memo’s use of the term “claims” suggests the information came from Obama Sr., possibly at an in-person meeting with an officer at the INS office when he filled out and filed his visa extension form.
The memo confirms Dunham was leaving Hawaii to attend school in Seattle, an additional factor the INS would have examined had an investigation been undertaken into the legitimacy of the marriage and the fatherhood of the child.
In the last paragraph, the memo notes the child was living with the mother at the home of the grandparents, while the Kenyan was living at the Alencastre Street address – facts that did not need to be seriously considered if the only relevant question in extending Obama Sr.’s visa was whether or not he was then a student in good standing.
Interesting, the note appended to the memo suggests the information the Kenyan provided raised serious questions about the wife and child that would need to be answered if he were applying for more than a temporary stay.
Given that the INS was not going to conduct an investigation, the Woods memo appears to document only what the Kenyan said and did not determine whether or not the claims were true.
While Obama Sr.’s INS files do not prove he was not the father of the future president, they provide ample documentation the officer was skeptical the Kenyan was legitimately married to Dunham and/or was the biological father of Barack Obama II.
By deciding to stay with the temporary student visa status, the Kenyan obviated the need for an INS investigation that might have uncovered in 1961 that the marriage was fraudulent and the biological father of the child was someone else.