Published On: Sat, Feb 17th, 2018

Chinese Christian converts Huang Zhelong, Li Xiangjin granted immigration stay in Connecticut

As the immigration debate centers around Dreamers, DACA, one Chinese couple in Connecticut has been granted a stay of deportation from federal immigration authorities, claiming America is an asylum, a place of refuge and they warned that they would be subject to persecution once back in China.

“I am beyond thrilled that [Huang Zhelong, who also uses the name Tony, and Li Xiangjin, known locally as Kris] were granted a stay of deportation, giving them the chance to remain with their children as a family and continue contributing to our state and our nation,” Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said.

The South China Morning post covered the story, quoting Laurie Kane, a property agent who helped Huang and Li buy two houses near Hartford, who said the couple became Christians after relocating to the US in 1999.

photo/ Facebook

“They’re Christians. How will that affect them once they’re in China?” Kane said in an interview.

Kane started a MoveOn.org petition that has accumulated nearly 80 per cent of the 10,000 signatures she is asking for. “I’d like to thank all of those involved who stood up for basic human decency and helped to keep this family in Connecticut.”

The couple’s lawyer, Erin O’Neil-Baker, said in a press conference that the couple “would be potentially persecuted” on “several issues” if they returned to China.

“Their ethnicity, religion and fact that they’ve been in the United States for this length of time could be constituted as a political opinion, for which they could be persecuted,” O’Neil-Baker said in a press conference organized by Malloy’s state house in Hartford, Connecticut.

Malloy’s office, which had issued the announcement that Huang and Li had received their stays of deportation, said the duration of the reprieves was not known.

“What Kris and Tony are devastated about is that after all these years, they provided a good life for their children and they’re facing the prospect of having to leave their children behind,” Kane added, but never explaining why they don’t have Green Cards or U.S. citizenship.

“It’s not that they hate China. The children were born here, and they don’t want to be separated.”

Activists have used Kris and Tony’s story as an example of the results of the “anti-immigrant sentiment” that US President Trump tapped to build support for his successful campaign for the White House.

The couple is appealling the most recent denial of their residency permit applications, Malloy also stated.

“Other than the question of their status, they have lived honourable and decent lives, contributing to the society and contributing to the welfare of their children,” Malloy said at the press briefing.

“Right now we have an application pending [to stay the deportation order], which I would hope on humanitarian or health grounds would be granted.”

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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