Saturday, December 10, 2022

Political Asylum in US Success Varies Widely Across Immigration Judges

PUNJAB NEWSLINE | December 13, 2021 08:19 AM

JALANDHAR: The United States has received a large number of asylum-seekers in recent years, and the responsibility of deciding many of those cases falls on the shoulders of Immigration Judges. This was disclosed here by Satnam Singh Chahal Executive Director North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) after getting the details from Transactional records access clearinghouse.

According to the information, TRAC analyzed 223,469 total asylum decisions from 62 Immigration Courts and 492 Immigration Judges for six fiscal years from 2016 and 2021 and found that asylum outcomes continue to vary significantly from judge to judge and from court to court.Asylum cases are not distributed across the country evenly. Nearly half of all asylum decisions made during this time period were issued by Immigration Judges at just six Immigration Courts, including those in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, and Baltimore. Judges in New York City alone issued nearly one in six of all asylum decisions, almost twice the number of the next busiest Immigration Court in San Francisco.

Chahal said according to the TRAC the range from highest to lowest asylum denial rate among Immigration Judges in the same court varies widely. New York, San Francisco, and Baltimore-which are included in the list of six largest courts in the country-each have a considerable range of denial rates among judges. New York City, for instance, includes judges that range from denying more than 90 percent of asylum cases to less than 10 percent. However, Houston and Miami, also in the top six largest courts, have relatively small ranges despite having large numbers of Immigration Judges.

Immigration Judges in Houston denied between 89 and 100 percent of all asylum cases. Comparing judges who hear cases in different Immigration Courts can present a very misleading picture since the nature of asylum cases often varies markedly from one Immigration Court to the next. This was seen when Judge Jennifer M. Riedthaler-Williams was on the bench at the San Francisco Immigration Court and the judge's asylum denial rate was just under 14 percent. But after moving to the Cleveland Immigration Court, the judge's asylum denial rate was 94 percent-an 80-point difference.

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