U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Political Corruption — Endemic vs. Aberrational
Yu v. Holder
Judges Jacobs, B.D. Parker and Hall
Background: The petitioner sought review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals that affirmed an immigration judge’s decision denying the petitioner’s application for asylum, withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture. The petitioner was an employee and a team-leader at a state-run airplane factory in Shanghai. His employer corruptly refused to pay the wages of workers on his team and the petitioner was jailed and fired after bringing the corruption to the attention of government officials. The IA and BIA concluded that the corruption was “aberrational” as opposed to “endemic,” thereby failing to establish his eligibility for asylum.
Ruling: The Second Circuit granted the petition. The court held that the IA and BIA had failed to consider the petitioner’s opposition to corruption in its full factual and political context. Specifically, the lower courts used the wrong standard as the inquiry does not focus on the number of corrupt acts, but requires an assessment of the overall climate and context in which a petitioner’s opposition takes place.
Emanuel Liu of Jiang & Liu for the petitioner; Jennifer Paisner Williams of the Office of Immigration Litigation for the respondent