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Lin v. Barr

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

December 10, 2019

LIU JIN LIN, Petitioner,
v.
WILLIAM P. BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, Respondent.

          PETITION FOR REVIEW OF AN ORDER OF THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS

          Gary J. Yerman and The Yerman Group, LLC on brief, for petitioner.

          Sharon M. Clay, Attorney, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Joseph H. Hunt, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, and Nancy E. Friedman, Senior Litigation Counsel, on brief, for respondent.

          Before Torruella, Lipez, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.

          TORRUELLA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Liu Jin Lin ("Lin"), a native and citizen of China, petitions for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") order denying as untimely her motion to reopen her earlier removal proceedings because of the intersection between her recent conversion to Christianity and changed country conditions in China regarding religious persecution. Because the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying Lin's motion, we deny her petition for review.

         I.

         Lin was born in Changle City, Fujian Province, China. She entered the United States on November 28, 2001 on a K-1 fiancée visa, which authorized her to remain in the country for ninety days. However, Lin overstayed her visa.

         In the fall of 2003, Lin met her husband Wenqiang Weng, whom she married on October 1, 2007, in Quincy, Massachusetts. They have two sons together, one born in 2006 and the other in 2008. On December 22, 2013, Lin's husband converted to Christianity and subsequently brought his family to the Greater Boston Christ's Mandarin Church. Lin and her family moved to Sharon, Massachusetts, and have since regularly attended the Chinese Church of Metro South Boston. Through the church, Lin also participates in the Sisterhood Bible study every Tuesday and joins the priest's wife on Thursdays for prayer and Bible study. On November 12, 2017, Lin was baptized in the Christian faith. She now preaches her faith to her sister at family meetings.

         According to Lin, she fears that she will face persecution if she were to return to China because she would only attend unregistered, or underground, Christian churches.

         II.

         On December 3, 2007, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") served Lin with a Notice to Appear charging her as removable under section 237(a)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1127(a)(1)(B). After receiving the Notice to Appear, Lin applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture ("CAT"), fearing persecution due to her violation of China's family planning policies. On March 25, 2011, the Immigration Judge ("IJ") found that Lin could be prevented from giving birth to future children due to China's family planning policies and granted her application for asylum. DHS appealed the IJ's decision to the BIA.

         On September 27, 2012, the BIA sustained DHS's appeal, vacated the IJ's decision, and ordered Lin removed to China. Lin filed a petition for review with this Court that was denied on July 23, 2013. See Liu Jin Lin v. Holder, 723 F.3d 300, 308 (1st Cir. 2013).

         Several years later, on May 4, 2018, Lin filed a motion to reopen with the BIA based on her view that allegedly changed country conditions in China would impact her given her recent conversion to Christianity. The BIA denied Lin's motion to reopen, finding that it was time-barred and that the evidence Lin had submitted of changed country conditions since her removal proceedings in 2011 did not support an exception to the time limits. The BIA found that the evidence reflected that "although there have been reports of the detention of some members, mostly leaders, of underground, or 'house,' churches and harassment of some church members," "China continues to allow the practice of Christianity." Furthermore, "the restrictions on unregistered religious groups differed in degree and varied significantly from region to region," and these restrictions had persisted for many years. The BIA also found that "the ...


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