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Man denied asylum after failing judge’s bible test

On Behalf of | Jan 28, 2014 | Asylum

People immigrate to California and other states for a variety of reasons. Some come to join family members who arrived here before they did. Others want the chance for a better economic future. Still others come for religious asylum, seeking the religious freedom they cannot find in their home country.

A man seeking asylum from China was denied it when he was unable to answer detailed questions about the bible. In his immigration application, the man said he had been sent to prison because he attended a church that was not sanctioned by the Chinese government. He was also beaten for his beliefs.

The federal judge overseeing his case in New York devised a quiz to test the man’s credibility as a Christian. He was made to retell the story of Paul, one of the disciples, and recount specific details of his life and teachings. Although the man retold much of Paul’s story, he was unable to answer questions that pinpointed the timing of Paul’s conversion to Christianity. In response, the judge found that the man’s claim he needed religious asylum were not credible.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed that decision. It determined that the judge should not have assumed that the man was not actually a Christian simply because he gave hesitant answers to some of the questions. Instead, the court found that the man was nervous about his situation and, accordingly, should have been given some leeway.

The laws concerning asylum are complicated and may be difficult for people trying to immigrate to California or elsewhere to understand. It is helpful if they acquire a good working knowledge of immigration law and how it may impact each individual situation. It remains to be seen how this case will ultimately be resolved, but the appellate court has sent the case back to the lower court for additional review.

Source: New York Daily News, Appeals court demands second chance for immigrant who failed judge’s bible quiz, Daniel Beekman, Jan. 24, 2014