Judge who blocked deportation mid-flight set to review case


COLLEGE PARK, Md. — A Maryland resident whose deportation was blocked by a federal judge while he was on a flight to his native China is now asking the same judge to allow him to stay in the country with his family while he seeks to legalize his immigration status.

U.S. District Judge George Hazel scheduled a Friday hearing for Wanrong Lin’s request for a preliminary injunction. One of his attorneys says a ruling in his favour could set a helpful precedent for other immigrants fighting deportation orders.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained Lin in August after he showed up for an interview as part of his application for a “stateside waiver,” which allows noncitizens facing deportation to remain in the U.S. while seeking legal status. On Nov. 19, they put him on a commercial flight leaving New Jersey for Shanghai. The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland sued on Lin’s behalf only minutes before the plane took off.

Before the flight arrived in China, Hazel ordered Lin to be returned to the U.S. The judge said ICE agents can’t use the waiver program “as a honeypot to trap undocumented immigrants who seek to take advantage of its protections.”

When Lin returned in December, he was taken into ICE custody after he got off the plane but released several hours later.

Lin, whose wife and three children are U.S. citizens, is asking for more time to stay in the country while he seeks permanent residence. Removing him now will keep him separated from his family for years, his lawyers said in a court filing.

“Mr. Lin is thankful to be back home with his family, but his children are still nervous and he can see the lasting impact of having been arrested and taken away from them for three and a half months, and …read more

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