Chinese Woman Stopping Forced Abortion Gets Second Asylum Chance

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 7, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Chinese Woman Stopping Forced Abortion Gets Second Asylum Chance

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
May 7, 2004

New York, NY ( — A Chinese woman who was jailed for trying to help a woman avoid a forced abortion is getting a second chance for a new life in the U.S.

Fifty-six-year-old Mei Ying Fong will have her request for asylum heard in a New York City court, the result of a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security deported Fong last year after her request for asylum was denied.

Judge Hellerstein, however, said Homeland Security rushed the deportation, denying Fong due process by preventing her from filing an appeal.

Fong feared she would face retaliation from Chinese authorities if she returned to the country because of her efforts to prevent a forced abortion.

The Chinese government has been sharply criticized by human rights activists, who say the government’s strict population control policies result in the deaths of innocent children and the abuse of vulnerable women.

Hellerstein’s decision to allow Fong’s case to be heard is considered a breakthrough by legal observers, who note that immigrants seldom receive a second chance at live in the U.S., once a deportation occurs.

A lawyer with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Sin Yen Ling, told New York Newsday, “These kinds of situations are few and far between. Generally when someone is deported, that’s the end of it, legally.”

Individuals who try to escape China’s coercive population control policies by seeking asylum in the U.S. often have difficulty winning their freedom. Only 1,000 political asylum slots are granted for people from population control countries.

A number of public officials and pro-life leaders in the U.S. have called on China to abandon its anti-life policies.

In an interview with last year, Serrin Foster of Feminists for Life said, “One can hope that the Chinese government will one day terminate their anti-woman policies rather than their children."

“They are destroying the country’s most priceless possession. If any other country invaded and exterminated the next generation they would call out their troops. But, when the Chinese government sends offers to drag a woman away for an abortion and invades her to take her daughter or son, they think that is okay,” Foster said.

Fong came to the U.S. in December of 1995 on a six-month visa. She lives in Elmhurst with her daughter and her grandchildren, who are American citizens.

Before the visa expired, Fong applied for asylum, based on the fact that she was imprisoned in China for trying to prevent a woman from being forced into an abortion.

But Fong had second thoughts about applying for asylum and asked that the application process be stopped. However, unknown to Fong, the travel agent who was handling the application secretly forged her name and used a false address on documents in order to keep the application alive.

The government denied Fong’s application without her knowledge and she was ordered deported in November of 1999.

But nothing happened until September of 2003, when Fong’s daughter attempted to change her status to lawful permanent resident. Authorities then took Fong into custody and flew her to China the next day.

The deportation came despite an order signed by Judge Hellerstein to delay it pending a court hearing.

However, now, as a result of another ruling by Hellerstein, it appears that Fong will finally receive her day in court.

Related web sites:
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