A Chinese immigrant, seeking asylum in the U.S. from his claims of religious persecution, will have a second chance at pleading his case to an immigration judge. According to U.S. Department of Justice reports, there were 44,170[i] foreign nationals who applied for asylum in 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available. A granting of asylum would allow them to indefinitely remain, lawfully, on U.S. soil. After being present for one year, they may apply to become a legal permanent resident. The same report indicates that 10,985 (by far the largest percentage) of asylum seekers were from China. Another report by the Human Rights Watch organization explains, “Against a backdrop of rapid socio-economic change and modernization, China continues to be an authoritarian one-party state that imposes sharp curbs on freedom of expression, association, and religion; openly rejects judicial independence and press freedom; and arbitrarily restricts and suppresses human rights defenders and organizations, often through extra-judicial measures.[ii]”
Chang Qiang Zhu’s asylum was denied because he failed his “bible quiz” on the story of Paul the Apostle[iii].
The asylum process may include a hearing in an immigration court. In Zhu’s case, the immigration judge quizzed him about the story of Paul the Apostle. Also known as Saint Paul, he is widely considered among the most important Christian apostles who is said to have taught the gospel of Christ in the first century. The immigration judge, Barbara Nelson, is reported to have not believed Zhu’s response to her request to tell her the story of Paul the Apostle, and that he was evasive. Was Zhu honest in his application for asylum and was he in fact a follower of Christian Faith?
Pervasive Christian Faith persecution by the Chinese, along with Zhu’s claims that he was beaten and imprisoned for attending a church not allowed by the Chinese government could, in most cases, be sufficient grounds to apply for asylum protection in the U.S. To be eligible for asylum, the applicant must establish their reasonable fear of persecution based upon at least one of the following grounds:
– Political opinion
– Membership in a Particular Social Group
Back to the story of Mr. Zhu and his asylum application – his attorney got him a second chance.
The immigration attorney representing Zhu filed an appeal before the Board of Immigration Appeals arguing that the judge was wrong for finding that Mr. Zhu was not credible because he may have been unclear about one particular Biblical story. The attorney told a reporter from the NY Daily News, ““You don’t have to know every fact to be a devout Christian…You can be very devout and not know everything. And the Bible doesn’t mandate that you have to know everything.” [iv]” The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, vacated the denial of asylum and Zhu’s application will be reviewed by a new judge. The initial immigration judge in Zhu’s 2009 hearing not only misapplied the law, but she also demonstrated a lack of competence applying her version of the law with a “Bible quiz.” Fortunately, Zhu had a competent immigration attorney advocating for his rights.
Immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley frequently represents asylum applicants at Asylum offices and immigration courts and can help asylum applicants at any part of the immigration process. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.