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Federal courts take a new and friendly approach to Chinese coercive population control asylum claims

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently decided in a case entitled Zheng v. Holder that an asylum applicant who was the victim of a forced abortion deserved to have her asylum claim reconsidered after the Immigration Judge denied her asylum claim and ordered her deported.

The facts of the case were as follows:

Zheng filed an asylum application in July 2006. The application claimed that Zheng had undergone a forced abortion in Fujian and that she feared that, if returned to China, she would be sterilized for having had two children in the United States

In citing well-settled law, the federal court reasoned that "Forced abortion or sterilization, or persecution for resistance to coercive population control policies, constitutes persecution on the basis of political opinion."

The federal court granted the petition for review citing recent federal court decisions that have recognized changed country conditions in China in which the government is stepping up its coercive one child policy. What does this mean for Chinese citizens who have 2 or more U.S. citizen children? They can either pursue asylum claims and rely on these decisions in support of changed country conditions or file motions to reopen if they have already lost their asylum claims. We look forward to how this area of law will develop.

The full decision may be read by following this link:

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2013/D07-11/C:11-3081:J:Feinerman:aut:T:fnOp:N:1166713:S:0

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