A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

BIA allows reopening of proceedings to apply for asylum based on changed country conditions

The BIA allows a Chinese national to reopen his removal case to apply for asylum and withholding of removal based on changed country conditions arising in the country of the alien’s nationality or the country to which removal has been ordered, without having first to rescind a prior in absentia order of removal.  Matter of J-G-,  26 I&N Dec. 161 (BIA 2013).  The respondent was ordered deported previously because he failed to show up for his removal hearing.  After analyzing the relevant statutes, regulations and  legislative history, the Board concluded that the respondent may file a motion to reopen his case to apply for asylum and withholding of removal if he can prove that the country conditions have changed, the changes are material and were not available and could not have been discovered or presented at the time of previous hearing.
Further, normally a respondent may only file one motion to reopen after the conclusion of a removal case.  The BIA also held that this numerical limitation on filing a motion to reopen in 8 C.F.R. § 1003.23(b)(1) (2013) does not apply when the respondent is seeking reopening to apply for asylum and withholding of removal based on changed country conditions.  Here the Chinese respondent based his motion on his conversion to Catholicism and his assertion that there has been increased persecution of the underground Catholic Church in China. 

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