With Chinese activist Chen Guancheng's plea to be granted asylum in the United States stirring up diplomacy issues, we decided to take a look at cases where the U.S. did grant asylum to foreign nationals.
Asha Omar, a native Somalian, was granted asylum in Texas. Her father had refused to force his oldest daughter into marriage with the leader of militant group al- Shabaab, and members of the group killed her family, forcing her to flee first to Djibouti and then to the United States, where she was granted asylum in 2011.
Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief, the Iraqi lawyer who helped U.S. forces find missing soldier Jessica Lynch, was granted asylum along with his wife and child in 2003.
The Romeikes family, natives of Germany, feared persecution after they decided to homeschool their children for religious reasons. In Germany, such homeschooling is prohibited because of a fear of developing parallel societies and students who lack social integration. The family was granted asylum in Tennessee in 2010.
Mosab Hassan Yousef, who secretly worked with Israeli intelligence to prevent terrorist attacks, was granted asylum after a 16-month battle. The son of a Hamas mastermind, Yousef served as an informant for 10 years, and argued that if sent back to any Arab country he would face assassination. His information prevented the assasination of Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. His father disowned him in March 2010. He was granted asylum a few months later.
Alexandra Reyes, a transgendered woman from Mexico, originally came to the United States illegally to escape abuse at the hands of her family and community. She was allowed to stay in 2010 after immigration officials determined that Mexican authorities could not violence against her if she were forced to return.
Zeituni Onyango, President Obama's aunt and a native of Kenya, was granted asylum after a closed trial in February 2010. Her attorney said that the details were kept private as she "didn't want people to feel sorry for her," but her cited reason for applying for asylum "due to violence in Kenya."
Kushaba Moses Mworeko, a gay Ugandan man, was granted asylum in 2011 after the passage of the Ugandan bill "Kill the Gays."
Jorge Luis Aguirre, a Mexican journalist whose coverage of the Mexican drug wars resulted in threats on his life. While attending a colleague's funeral, he received a phone call stating "You're next." He immediately fled to El Paso, Texas where he was granted asylum in 2010.