(CN) – A Chinese mother of two can reopen her asylum petition based on newly available evidence that officials in her home village have begun aggressively enforcing the country’s one-child policy, the 11th Circuit ruled.
Xue Xian Jiang illegally entered the United States in 1999 and was ordered removed shortly after failing to show up at her hearing.
In 2002, she and her husband, also from China, had two children in New York City.
Jiang moved to reopen her removal proceedings, arguing that the late filing of her asylum application should be excused due to changed country conditions.
She claimed she feared forced sterilization if returned to China, because she had two children in violation of the nation’s one-child policy.
Although the policy has been in effect for some time, Jiang said she recently learned from family and friends that Chinese officials were cracking down on violators in the Fujian Province. To back up her claims, she presented testimony about the forced sterilization of her sister-in-law and a village neighbor after they gave birth to their second children. Village officials allegedly knew that she had two children and had told her parents that she faced the same fate if she returned.
Jiang also submitted other documents to support the claim, including country reports and the congressional testimony of an expert on Chinese family planning policy.
However, the immigration remained unconvinced and denied her motion to reopen.
The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed, concluding that Jiang’s claim was principally based in changed personal conditions – the fact that she had two kids in the United States – and not changed country conditions.
“We think the BIA badly misconceived Jiang’s petition,” the Atlanta-based federal appeals court ruled. Judge Marcus added that the board’s decision “overlooked, or, inexplicably discounted” much of Jiang’s evidence.
The court vacated the board’s order and directed it to reopen Jiang’s case.