Immigration Law

CA9 on China, Asylum, Religious Persecution: Guo v. Sessions

Guo v. Sessions - "Petitioner Zhihui Guo is a Chinese citizen who entered the United States in 2010 on a student visa and stayed beyond its duration. He seeks review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) denial of his claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). In mid-2010, Chinese police arrested Petitioner1 for attending a Christian “home church,” eventually beating him with a baton and detaining him for two days. Under the terms of his release, Petitioner could never again attend his home church and was required to report to the police weekly to verify his compliance. The BIA concluded that these oppressive conditions did not rise to the level of religious persecution, portraying the harm Petitioner suffered as “a single, isolated encounter with the authorities.” We are compelled to disagree. By forbidding Petitioner from attending his home church, the Chinese police prevented him from practicing his faith and did so through coercive means. The harm Petitioner suffered was therefore ongoing and, under our asylum precedent, compelled a finding of past persecution. We therefore grant the petition for review and remand to the BIA in order for it to apply the rebuttable presumption that Petitioner will experience further persecution if returned to China."

[Hats off to Albert S. Chow!]