Chinese Immigrant's Lies Tank Her Asylum Bid
(CN) - Applying a maxim about liars, the 9th Circuit found Tuesday that a Chinese woman was properly denied asylum based on inconsistencies in her story.
Enying Li applied for asylum in the United States and withholding of removal under both the Convention Against Torture and the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Li claimed she had suffered religious persecution and had been subject to China's restrictive population control measures.
As to the religious claim, Li said Chinese police arrested her at a Christian at-home church service. Her testimony was inconsistent, however, regarding her church attendance. Though she claimed at one point to have been a member for 19 months, she later said she had not been baptized because she had not fulfilled a requirement to practice in the home church for six to 12 months before being baptized.
Li said Korean-Chinese persons like herself were allowed to have two children, but that her employer balked when she found out she was pregnant with her second child one month after her husband died. Eventually Li was allegedly forced to have an abortion.
There were also problems with testimony Li gave about when she received a passport.
An immigration judge cited this contradictory testimony in denying Li's applications for asylum, and the Board of Immigration Appeals later affirmed.
Though neither the church-attendance issue nor the passport timeline touch upon Li's forced abortion claim, the 9th Circuit voted 2-1 to deny her review on Tuesday.
As the Latin maxium goes, falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, the ruling states. It means false in one thing, false in everything.
This saying "allows a fact-finder to disbelieve a witness's entire testimony if the witness makes a material and conscious falsehood in one aspect of his testimony," Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the majority (emphasis in orginal).
"The maxim is based on the logic that a person may mistakenly testify wrongly and still be believable, but if a person testifies falsely, willfully, and materially on one matter, then his 'oath' or word is not 'worth anything' and he is likely to be lying in other respects," Bea added. "The law of this circuit permits the use of the maxim falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus in the immigration context."
Ultimately Li's "credibility goes to the heart of either and both claims," the ruling states.
"To hold otherwise would be to encourage asylum seekers to make as many claims for asylum as possible, in the hope that as to one, the IJ did not find any inconsistency that went to the 'heart of the matter,'" Bea added. "Thus, an asylum seeker who lied through three of his claims, but managed to recite a fourth uncontradicted, would skirt an adverse credibility finding as to the fourth. This result is not, and cannot be, the law. This is not the law in other circuits either. The cases cited by the dissent are distinguishable from this case."
Writing in dissent, Judge Morgan Christen chided his colleagues for announcing a new rule that permits "adverse credibility findings to wash over from one asylum claim to another, whether inconsistencies that give rise to an adverse credibility finding 'go to the heart of' the separate asylum claim, or not."