Chinese Couple in Connecticut Spared in Deportation Case
ICC Note: A Chinese couple who have lived in the US for nearly 20 years without legal status were spared from a deportation order less than a day before they would have had to be sent back to China where they may face persecution due to their ethnicity, faith, and decision to live in the States. The couple came to Christ after relocating to the US in 1999. Their religion could be constituted as a political opinion, for which they could be persecuted if sent back to China, according to their lawyer.
02/16/2018 United States (South China Morning Post) – A Chinese couple living in the US without residency permits were spared from a deportation order less than 24 hours before they would have had to board a plane to their homeland, where their lawyer said they may face persecution.
The stay of deportation followed demonstrations, an online petition and political appeals to federal immigration authorities, warning that the two would be subject to persecution once back in China.
“I am beyond thrilled that [Huang Zhelong, who also uses the name Tony, and Li Xiangjin, known locally as Kris] were granted a stay of deportation, giving them the chance to remain with their children as a family and continue contributing to our state and our nation,” Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said.
“I’d like to thank all of those involved who stood up for basic human decency and helped to keep this family in Connecticut.”
Before the stay of deportation announcement was made, the couple’s lawyer, Erin O’Neil-Baker, said in a press conference that the couple “would be potentially persecuted” on “several issues” if they returned to China.
“Their ethnicity, religion and fact that they’ve been in the United States for this length of time could be constituted as a political opinion, for which they could be persecuted,” O’Neil-Baker said in a press conference organised by Malloy’s state house in Hartford, Connecticut.
Malloy’s office, which had issued the announcement that Huang and Li had received their stays of deportation, said the duration of the reprieves was not known.
O’Neil-Baker did not immediately respond to a query about why Huang’s and Li’s ethnicity would expose them to persecution in China.