Building Precedent Against Religious Persecution
Political Asylum and Immigrants’ Rights Project / Building Precedent Against Religious Persecution
Gunawan Ongkowijoyo Liem fled Indonesia for the U.S. more than a decade ago as a result of religious and ethnic persecution. Although Mr. Liem lost his asylum application, he received a reprieve from the government and was able to stay in the U.S. During that time, he found a job and formed a family. In 2018, a policy change reinforced the original orders of extradition. After dropping his daughter off at school one day, he was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and detained in a correctional facility. He filed a motion to reopen his asylum proceedings, which was denied. Sidley then stepped in and represented him on a Third Circuit petition for another opportunity to apply for asylum and to remain in the U.S.  The Sidley team researched cases where the Third Circuit had granted a petition for review and identified commonalities, which they emphasized in their filing, ultimately securing a victory on behalf of Mr. Liem. The impact of this win created a helpful precedent for an entire community of Chinese-Indonesian Christians who now have the opportunity to strengthen their cases for asylum.