Immigration document listing Barack Obama Sr.’s birthdate as June 18, 1934
Overshadowed by reaction to the release of Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate was the unearthing of half-century-old files that cast doubt on whether the age of the president’s father indicated on the Hawaii document is accurate.
The applications, memos and other documents from the Immigration and Naturalization Service acquired in a Freedom of Information Act request by Heather Smathers of the Arizona Independent – which indicate Barack Obama Sr. would have been 27 at the time of his son’s birth, not 25 – also suggest that the president’s father did not leave the islands from the time of his August 1959 arrival until he departed for graduate studies at Harvard in June 1962.
Some have speculated that the president’s parents ventured together to Kenya while his mother was pregnant, but the files present a picture of a financially strapped Barack Obama Sr. known for “playboy ways” who two months after his reported marriage to Ann Dunham was still “running around with several girls.” His INS records, which show he had a class F-1 student visa that had to be renewed annually, do not preclude him having made a return trip to Kenya during his U.S. studies. But the only indication of travel outside the U.S. was when officials denied a request for a fifth visa extension and forced him to return to his home country in 1964, when Barack Obama Jr. was 2 years old.
Among the released documents is a copy of a handwritten memo by an immigration official that refers to Barack Obama Jr.’s birth in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961.
The age of Barack Obama Sr. listed on the Certificate of Live Birth released Wednesday by the president is 25, consistent with his commonly reported birthday of June 18, 1936.
Several documents in the newly released immigration files, including applications filled in by hand and signed by Barack Obama Sr., also list a birthdate of June 18, 1936.
However, about a dozen documents – including an alien registration card with fingerprints and an immigration arrival-departure card which presumably accompanied his passport – show a birthdate of June 18, 1934.
Arrival-Departure card, with record of visa extensions, listing Barack Obama Sr.’s birthdate as June 18, 1934
That date of birth would have made him 27 at the time Barack Obama Jr. was born.
In some instances, also, Barack Obama Sr.’s nationality is listed as British, instead of Kenyan.
In an application to extend his visa that was approved July 28, 1960, officials notated: “presents valid British passport 84764 until 4/29/64.
That passport number, 84764, was entered on a June 6, 1963, application to extend his stay that stated he held a Kenyan passport. But this can likely be explained by the fact that Kenya was a colony of the United Kingdom until 1963.
Curiously, on an Aug. 17, 1962, application to extend his visa, Obama Sr. filled in a line asking him to list the names and addresses of children. The only child he listed was Roy Obama, a son from his Kenyan wife, Kezia. At that time, Barack Obama Jr. was 1 year old.
On that application he also listed his mailing address as c/o the Koinoinia Foundation in Pikesville, Md. The organization, according to a website, was a “spiritual community” with “strong Quaker influences” that sought to “take literacy, agriculture, health, and similar practical skills into the undeveloped world.” After 1970, it “shifted to New Age and wholistic activities.”
Image released by the White House April 27, 2011
An Immigration and Naturalization Service arrival-departure record filled in by hand when he left the United States for Kenya in 1964 indicated a 1934 birthdate and British nationality.
The June 18, 1934, birthdate also was handwritten on an application to extend his temporary stay that was submitted in Honolulu on Aug. 31, 1961, just weeks after Barack Obama Jr. was born.
On the application, Obama’s father also indicated he was married to Ann Dunham, and he asked for permission to get employment, explaining: “because unable to get more financial assistance.”
“Alien Registration Fingerprint Chart” listing Barack Obama Sr.’s birthdate as June 18, 1934
On a previous application for permission to work, dated March 3, 1961, he indicated the reason was “economic necessity,” stating, “This is because I did not come with enough for the entire period of my stay and thought would get some from scholarships and work.”
On Aug. 31, 1961, he was granted an exception to the rule that F-1 non-immigrant students not be allowed employment and was permitted to accept up to 25 hours a week of work, expiring Aug. 8, 1962. On the application, he checked: “Because of economic necessity due to unforeseen change in financial circumstances.” In the required explanation, he wrote by hand, “because unable to get more financial assistance.” On the form, he listed his total income as $1,190 and his total yearly expenses as $2,040.
Interestingly, one year before he filled out that application, he had indicated on an application submitted in Hawaii to extend his visa another year that he he had worked for $5 a day as a dishwasher at the “Inkblot coffee shop.”
Yet near the end of his time in the U.S., on April 21, 1964, he indicated on an INS form that he had not “been employed or engaged in business in the United States.”
‘Child born in Honolulu’
An INS official, William Woods, handwrote a memo dated Aug. 31, 1961, that referred to Barack Obama Jr. being born Aug. 4, 1961, in Hawaii.
“They have one child born Honolulu on 8/4/1961 – Barack Obama II, child living with mother (she lives with her parents & subject resides at 1482 Alencastre St.),” Woods wrote.
Woods also noted Obama Sr.’s wife planned “to go to Washington State University next semester.”
As WND reported, school records show Dunham did go to the state of Washington to continue her studies, but she attended the University of Washington in Seattle, not Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. A girlfriend from Ann Dunham’s high school days in Mercer Island, Wash., near Seattle, has said she remembers Dunham visiting her, along with newborn Barack Obama Jr., in “late August” 1961.
Dunham’s departure from Hawaii shortly after Obama Jr.’s birth conflicts with the president’s account of his life story. He told a gathering of schoolchildren in September 2009, for example, “My father left my family when I was 2 years old, and I was raised by a single mother.”
In the speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 that catapulted him to political stardom, Obama told the nation, “My parents shared not only an improbable love, they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation.”
‘Get rid of him’
The Obama Sr. files show immigration officials rejected his request for yet another visa extension in July 1964 and forced him to return to Kenya amid reports by Harvard officials of scandalous behavior.
An INS investigator, M.F. McKeon, wrote in a June 8, 1964, memo that Harvard officials “weren’t very impressed with him and asked us to hold up action on his application until they decided what action they could take in order to get rid of him.”
“They were apparently having difficulty with his financial arrangements and couldn’t seem to figure out how many wives he had,” the investigator said.
A March 6, 1964, letter from an INS official to the American consul in London expresses concern about a Kenyan woman who came to the U.S. in 1962 as a high school student and had been “associating with” Obama Sr.
INS officials communicated similar concerns when Obama Sr. was at the University of Hawaii.
Lyle H. Dahlin, in a typed memo with a handwritten notation dated April 12, 1961, said that the University of Hawaii foreign student adviser reported April 10, 1961, that Obama had been “married on February 2, 1961 to Stanley Ann Dunham, a United States citizen from Seattle, Washington in Maui, Hawaii.”
“The problem,” Dahlin wrote, “is that when he arrived in the U.S. the subject had a wife in Kenya.”
The memo stated Obama was “born on June 18, 1934 in Kisumu, Nyanza, Kenya, Africa.”
Dahlin said that according to the adviser, a Mrs. McCabe, Obama “has been running around with several girls since he first arrived here and last summer she cautioned him about his playboy ways.”
July 17, 1964, INS memo
“Subject replied that he would ‘try’ to stay away from the girls,” the memo stated.
Dahlin said Obama explained to McCabe that in Kenya all that was necessary to obtain a legal divorce was to declare to the wife that she was divorced.
“Subject claims to have been divorced from his wife in Kenya in this method,” the memo said.
Dahlin noted that Obama could not be deported on a polygamy charge, because he’s a non-immigrant. But he recommended that Obama be closely questioned before another extension was granted. He instructed that if his American citizen wife, Dunham, tried to petition for him, “make sure an investigation is conducted as to the bone-fide of the marriage.”
A Lyle H. Dahlin is listed as a petitioner in a 1977 INS court case as district director of the INS in Portland, Ore.
An INS “Report of Investigation” shows Obama Sr. was to depart the U.S. July 6, 1964, but a memo dated July 17, 1964, indicates he had overstayed his visa and was still in the country.
The report stated: “A [redacted] has called twice and is quite upset because her daughter (27) is planning on marrying this alien.”
“Looks like he has over two wives now,” the report said. “File shows that his departure time expired 7/8/64 and he is apparently still here. Please have investigation conducted as to his status.”
A Report of Investigation states Barack Obama Sr. finally departed the U.S. on July 22, 1964.