Amos Yee, 18, a filmmaker turned activist who has been repeatedly jailed in Singapore for his controversial videos, has been detained by U.S. authorities since he arrived in Chicago airport in early December.
“Soon his case will be referred to an immigration judge for a hearing on his eligibility for asylum,” Yee’s lawyers Grossman Law said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Yee will have to undergo a credible fear screening at which U.S. officials will determine whether he risks persecution or torture in Singapore, his lawyer Sandra Grossman told the South China Morning Post.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed Yee was in custody pending federal immigration court proceedings.
“Amos Pang Sang Yee, 18, a national of Singapore, was encountered Dec. 16 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. He was subsequently turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” a spokeswoman said in a statement.
Yee was in high spirits despite being detained and was seeking U.S. asylum because America is a “safe space” where free speech is not policed, Melissa Chen, a U.S.-based Singaporean who has been helping Yee with his asylum bid, said in a Facebook post.