(CN) – The 2nd Circuit gave a Chinese woman another shot at asylum, saying the immigration judge had relied on speculation, not fact, when he rejected her alleged fear of persecution based on the country’s coercive family-planning policy.
In her asylum application, Su Chun Hu claimed she was forced to have an abortion in June 2000. When she skipped a follow-up appointment to insert an intrauterine device, her mother-in-law was allegedly taken hostage and released only after Hu and her husband posted bond.
Hu said she feared being “beaten and incarcerated” if returned to China.
Immigration Judge Sandy Hom denied her petition, finding her testimony not credible based on certain inconsistencies and conflicts in the record.
The 2nd Circuit told the judge to reconsider the case, because his earlier order was based on “unspecified inconsistencies, flawed reasoning and misunderstanding of evidence.”
Hom tried to explain the specific inconsistencies by pointing to Hu’s demeanor in court. For example, he said Hu’s demeanor while testifying about her forced abortion was “suggestive of someone who has never experienced an abortion procedure and was more akin to a routine gynecological ‘pap smear’ check-up, rather than a life-altering traumatic experience.”
The New York-based appeals court called Hom’s analysis “impermissible speculation.”
“[Hom] provided no basis for his assumptions about how someone who had a forced abortion would testify,” the court wrote.
As for the inconsistencies in Hu’s testimony, the court said the record “indicates pervasive problems in translation.”
Thus, the immigration judge’s findings were not based on reasonable, substantial evidence, the 2nd Circuit concluded.
It granted Hu’s petition for review and remanded.