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Federal appeals court allows asylum for victims of forced abortions

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that victims of forced abortions are "statutorily entitled" to prevent their removal from the United States by requesting asylum under Sec. 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act [text]. The court reversed an immigration judge's finding that the petitioner, Chinese national Tang Zi Zhi and his wife Zhen Li, had failed to establish that an employer-imposed abortion was "forced" because it was not performed "pursuant to any official summons." The appeals court said that the top-to-bottom "structure of the Chinese population control program" means that employers who impose population controls over employees were acting to further official policies. The court also reversed the immigration judge's holding that neither Tang or Zhen had expressed opposition or made "efforts to avoid" the abortion because neither had gone into hiding to avoid the procedure. The court also held that a "partner of a woman who had a forced abortion" is also entitled to the withholding of removal by asylum.

A recent study [materials] published in the Standford Law Review found that US immigration courts are inconsistent in granting asylum to applicants [JURIST report]. The SLR study echoes another report [materials] conducted by Syracuse University, which found widespread complaints from lawyers, federal appeals court judges, and other immigration legal professionals concerning numerous instances of failures by immigration judges to provide a "fair, expeditious, and uniform application of the nation's immigration laws in all cases." China's controversial "One Child Policy" [backgrounder], which has been imposed since 1979, seeks to control and reverse the growth of China's 1.3 billion people. In May, thousands of framers in southwestern China reportedly rioted [JURIST report] due to efforts by local government officials to more strictly enforce the "One Child Policy." State media later reported the arrest of 28 people for their alleged role in the riots [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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