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Immigration Matter Involving Whether a Lawsuit Against the Government Can be a "Political Opinion"

By FindLaw Staff on June 10, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Chen v. Holder, No. 09-2619, the Seventh Circuit dealt with a Chinese citizen's petition for review of BIA's denial of her application for asylum on the ground that the petitioner's lawsuit against a local government in China did not amount to a "political opinion" within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. section 1158(b)(1)(B)(i). 

In granting the petition, the court remanded the matter in holding that the Board has never addressed the question of whether it is appropriate to treat suing a unit of government as a legitimate means of expressing one's political opinion.  Furthermore, the Board needs to consider the possibility that, if China has classified petitioner as a public protester, then perhaps an imputed political opinion is "at least one central reason" for the attempted arrest for filing suit against the local government for confiscating her father's land without just compensation.     

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