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Immigration

President Barack Obama was interrupted by two people while delivering a speech on the economy on Thursday at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas.

The two Hispanic hecklers interrupted the president’s speech with shouts about illegal immigration.

“I’m sorry, what are you yelling about now?” Barack Obama said amid the sudden yelling.

“Sit down, guys. I’m almost done.

Barack Obama was interrupted by two people while delivering a speech on the economy at the Paramount Theater in Austin

Barack Obama was interrupted by two people while delivering a speech on the economy at the Paramount Theater in Austin (photo Daily Texas)

“Come on, sit down. I’ll talk to you afterwards, I promise. I’ll bring you back. I’m wrapping things up here.”

The White House’s transcript of Barack Obama’s remarks in Austin omits what the protesters said, but the president replied: “I understand. See, everybody is going to start – I’m on your side, man. Sit down, guys, we’ll talk about it later, I promise.”

They were invited after the event to meet with Barack Obama about their concerns on immigration reform.

According to a White House press pool report, its staff escorted the protesters behind the stage immediately after Barack Obama’s speech was over and he “began glad-handing with folks in front”.

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Zeituni Onyango, President Barack Obama’s aunt who stayed in the US illegally for years, died Tuesday at age 61.

Zeituni Onyango had been treated in recent months for cancer and respiratory problems, Cleveland attorney Margaret Wong said.

She died in a Boston rehabilitation center, said Margaret Wong, who represented her in her immigration case.

Zeituni Onyango, a half-sister of Barack Obama’s late father, moved from Kenya to the US in 2000 and was denied asylum by an immigration judge in 2004.

She remained in the country illegally, living in Boston public housing.

Zeituni Onyango was a half-sister of Barack Obama's late father

Zeituni Onyango was a half-sister of Barack Obama’s late father (photo AP)

She finally was granted asylum in 2010 by a judge who said she could be in danger if she returned to Kenya because of her relationship with Barack Obama.

Zeituni Onyango was born in Kenya in May 1952 under a mango tree and was delivered by a midwife, Margaret Wong said.

She raised a family in Kenya and worked in the computer department of Kenya Breweries, she said.

“She was an awesome, funny, shrewd, smart lady born at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Margaret Wong said.

“If she was only born in America or born in more Western open society instead of being bogged down by tribes, lineage and being a woman in Kenya, she could have been anything she wanted to be.”

Margaret Wong said Zeituni Onyango had become ill in January and died early Tuesday morning in her sleep.

The White House, which had no immediate reaction to Zeituni Onyango’s death on Tuesday, had said previously that Barack Obama did not intervene in her immigration case.

Barack Obama, in his memoir Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, affectionately referred to Zeituni Onyango as Auntie Zeituni and described meeting her during his 1988 trip to Kenya.

Zeituni Onyanogo helped care for his half-brothers and sister while living with his father, Barack Obama Sr., in Kenya.

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Voters in Switzerland have narrowly backed a referendum proposal to bring back strict quotas for immigration from EU countries.

Final results showed 50.3% voted in favor. The vote invalidates the Swiss-EU agreement on freedom of movement.

Fiercely independent Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but has adopted large sections of EU policy.

Brussels said it regretted the outcome of the vote and would examine its implications.

A Yes vote of more than 50% was needed for the referendum to pass.

The vote has shown up traditional divisions, with French-speaking areas against the quotas, German-speaking regions divided, and the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino firmly in favor.

In a statement, the European Commission said it regretted that an “initiative for the introduction of quantitative limits to immigration has been passed by this vote.

Voters in Switzerland have narrowly backed a referendum proposal to bring back strict quotas for immigration from EU countries

Voters in Switzerland have narrowly backed a referendum proposal to bring back strict quotas for immigration from EU countries

“This goes against the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and Switzerland. The EU will examine the implications of this initiative on EU-Swiss relations as a whole. In this context, the Federal Council’s position on the result will also be taken into account.”

The vote comes amid increasing debate across Europe about migration and the impact of free movement of people.

Switzerland’s economy is booming at the moment, and unemployment is low, but many Swiss worry about immigration.

A quarter of the eight million-strong population is foreign, and last year 80,000 new immigrants arrived.

Since 2007, most of the EU’s 500 million residents have been on an equal footing with locals in the Swiss job market – the result of a policy voted into law in a 2000 referendum.

But a coalition led by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party now wants to reverse this deal, saying it was a huge mistake.

Supporters of quotas believe free movement has put pressure on housing, health, education, and transport. They also argue that foreign workers drive salaries down.

But the Swiss government and business leaders say free movement is key to Switzerland’s economic success, allowing employers to choose skilled staff from across Europe.

Switzerland’s bilateral agreements with the EU took years of negotiation to achieve.

Abandoning free movement could limit Switzerland’s access to Europe’s single market, where over half its exports are sold.

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1,123 migrants from North Africa have been rescued by Italian navy from inflatable boats in the space of 24 hours.

The latest migrants were found in eight boats and a barge about 120 miles south-east of Lampedusa.

They included 47 women, four of them pregnant, and 50 children, all probably from sub-Saharan Africa, the navy said.

Meanwhile, at least seven migrants have drowned trying to reach the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa.

Local officials say the bodies of six men and a woman were found on a beach in neighboring Morocco. The dead migrants were among hundreds of people who tried to enter Spanish territory on Thursday.

Italy's navy has rescued 1,123 people from inflatable boats in the space of 24 hours

Italy’s navy has rescued 1,123 people from inflatable boats in the space of 24 hours

The Moroccan coastguard said it had picked up 150 of the migrants, while the rest swam back to shore.

All of the victims were reportedly from sub-Saharan Africa.

Some 2,000 migrants landed on Italian shores last month, nearly 10 times the number recorded in January 2013.

Once in Italy, the migrants will be assessed to see if they have legitimate grounds for claiming asylum.

They have to satisfy the authorities that they are fleeing persecution and would face harm or even death if sent back to their country of origin.

Nearly three out of four asylum applications in EU states were rejected in 2012.

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