Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

CA7 (Posner) on Asylum, China, Changed Conditions, Chenery: Liu v. Holder

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"The Justice Department insists that the only change was in the petitioner’s personal conditions. That is wrong. It ignores the change in country conditions. In arguing that reopening was barred because the only change was in personal conditions, the Department was once again violating the Chenery doctrine. See Chen v. Holder, supra, at *2, and cases cited there. For the Board had made no mention of a change in personal conditions. The Department commits a second Chenery violation by arguing that China leaves small, unobtrusive house churches alone; the argument does not appear in the Board’s opinion. It is also a weak argument. An “unobtrusive” house church presumably is one that refrains from proselytizing; and to forbid proselytizing is an infringement of religious liberty—the petitioner asserts without contradiction that her religious faith requires that she proselytize. By their repeated violations of the Chenery doctrine, the Justice Department’s