(CN) – A Chinese man won his appeal for asylum after his wife underwent an involuntary abortion because the procedural rules were unexpectedly changed during his appeal process, the 7th Circuit ruled.
Liang Chen says China’s family planning policy forced his wife to abort her pregnancy in 1999. He left China in 2004 and sought asylum the next year.
At the time, the Bureau of Immigration Appeals conferred automatic refugee status on the spouse of a person forced to abort a pregnancy. But an immigration judge found that Chen did not present a credible story and denied his application.
Chen appealed, and a year later “the proverbial rug was pulled out from under” his feet when former Attorney General Michael Mukasey reversed the BIA interpretation of the abortion rule, finding that a spouse was not entitled to automatic refugee status because of his partner’s forced abortion.
Under Mukasey’s new interpretation, the spouse must prove that he suffered persecution or has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his resistance to China’s population control program.
The BIA then dismissed Chen’s appeal.
“Because of the way the proceedings unfolded in Chen’s case, he has been deprived” of the opportunity to meet the new legal standards for asylum, the circuit ruled.