In 1996 an amendment to the U.S. immigration law was enacted that expanded the definition of persecution to include “…a well founded fear that he or she will be forced to undergo such a procedure [abortion or involuntary sterilization] …” That provision allows Chinese who have entered the U.S. illegally to gain legal status as refugees by arguing they would be subjected to the Chinese law if they were sent back to China. FAIR has consistently criticized that provision on the basis that immigration judges have no reliable means for deciding whether such claims are valid, and, therefore, the provision invites fraudulent claims.

The validity of that concern was proven most recently by the announcement on December 18 of indictments by the federal attorney’s office in New York against 26 people working at 10 law firms They are accused of fabricating false asylum claims for their Chinese clients.

The New York Times story on the indictments and related arrests added that “…the federal indictments only hinted at the pervasiveness of immigration fraud within the Chinese diaspora, experts said.”