Shou Feng Zheng, a Spokane mother who faced deportation to her native People’s Republic of China, won a last-minute stay today, allowing her to stay in the United States for one year while she makes another plea for asylum.
Zheng credited a public outcry about her impending deportation for convincing the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to grant her the stay.
A group of about 30 friends and family members gathered outside ICE offices in Tukwila, Wash., this morning while she and her attorney appeared before an immigration officer.
Zheng, 28, had been ordered to appear ready for removal from the United States with her bags packed after several unsuccessful appeals for asylum.
Her New York City attorney, Theodore Cox, recently filed a motion to reopen her case based on China’s increased enforcement if its one-child family planning policy.
If she is repatriated to her native Changle City in Fujian province, she fears, she will face “fines, forced sterilization, imprisonment and torture,” according to documents filed with the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review Board of Immigration Appeals.
Zheng a waitress in a Division Street Chinese restaurant, feared that her husband, Xue Ting Lin, would be unable to care for their two U.S. born children, Shirley, 6, and Terence, 3, because of a brain injury sustained in a car crash.
She arrived in the United States around Oct. 30, 2001, and was immediately denied political asylum by an immigration judge. Successive appeals also have been denied.
Zheng’s latest appeal is based on “new and previously unavailable evidence” that enforcement of China’s “despotic” family planning laws, while once “lax and uneven” in Fujian province are now strictly enforced.
“She would have a high likelihood of forced sterilization because her children are considered Chinese citizens even though they have U.S. passports,” Cox said, adding that she also would be fined and possibly jailed for violating the one-child policy.