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Anti-Abortion Stance of Chinese to Become Grounds for U.S. Asylum

From Newsday

President Clinton has decided to alter U.S. policy and grant refuge in the United States to Chinese immigrants who claim that they will be punished for opposing abortion in their homeland, government officials said Thursday.

The new policy, which is expected to be announced today, would halt the deportation of many Chinese immigrants, such as those who arrived in New York City last year aboard the freighter Golden Venture and claimed political asylum on grounds that they would be persecuted for resisting abortions or mandatory sterilization. An estimated 1,000 illegal Chinese immigrants are in detention, awaiting deportation.

Under the George Bush Administration, Chinese merely had to indicate to immigration officials that they feared possible persecution for their birth-control views to qualify for political asylum. Immigration officials have said that many illegal Chinese immigrants arrived with apparently rehearsed speeches about their desires for large families and that the Bush policy was an invitation to massive immigration fraud.

Under Clinton Administration policy, Chinese immigrants who merely said they opposed abortion would be deported.

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The new policy would grant asylum only to individuals who can prove that they, in particular, fear punishment for refusing to undergo abortions or who face forced sterilization.

Some officials argued, however, that Clinton was signaling would-be immigrants in China that U.S. doors were once again open.

The problem in the past, said former general counsel Grover Rees of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, has been that, even though the rules are not as liberal as Chinese think, thousands--including many single men who claim they want large families--try to enter the United States, only to be denied. They are then punished upon their return to China.


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