Amos Yee detained in US

Teenage blogger Amos Yee has been detained in the United States over immigration-related matters.

According to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement website, an "Amos Pang Sang Yee" from Singapore is currently detained at the McHenry County jail, an hour's drive from Chicago.

There were no other details about the detention on the website, but in a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Yee's mother, Madam Mary Toh, said that her son is seeking political asylum in the US and "the matter is now with his lawyers".

When contacted by The Straits Times, she declined to comment on whether she had spoken to her son or what she planned to do next.

Mr Yee, 18, has served two prison terms for wounding religious feelings. He was jailed for four weeks in July last year and sentenced to six weeks' jail in September this year.

The South China Morning Post reported yesterday that he was detained after he landed at Chicago O'Hare Airport last Friday.

It quoted US-based Singaporean activist Melissa Chen as saying that he entered the US on a tourist visa and was detained after a secondary screening in which he told immigration officers he was seeking asylum.

According to the US Department of Homeland Security, asylum may be granted to those who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country.

This must be due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution because of the asylum seeker's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

Asylum seekers in the US may be detained while their cases are being examined.

US law states that a decision on an application should be made within 180 days after it was filed. However, this can take longer in practice.

Rachel Au-Yong

Charissa Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2016, with the headline 'Amos Yee detained in US'. Print Edition | Subscribe