Zeituni Polly Onyango successfully argued before U.S. Immigration Judge Leonard Shapiro to close Thursday's proceeding in Boston, the Boston Herald reported Tuesday.
Lauren Alder Reid of the U.S. Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review, which speaks for the immigration court, said closed hearings aren't unusual. Reid said removal proceedings were closed-door in cases of domestic abuse, security or political asylum, which Onyango is requesting.
Onyango, a computer programmer, has been in the United States illegally since 2004, when Shapiro ordered her to leave.
"I assume (Shapiro) thought it would be a three-ring circus. She's the aunt of the president of the United States -- the most famous man in the world," Mike Rogers, a spokesman for the Ohio law firm defending Onyango against the Homeland Security Department, told the newspaper.