- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2006


In the past, immigrants could only rely on gossip to determine whether a particular immigration judge has a tendency to rule for or against asylum.

But they gained a new tool Monday, when information on backgrounds and records of most of the nation’s 200-plus immigration judges was published in one place for the first time.

The online database (https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/judgereports) shows each judge’s denial rates in asylum cases, giving immigrants and their attorneys new insight. They may even be inspired to try to get their cases moved to a friendlier court.

“You just have one chance,” said Susan Long, co-director of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which released the information. The project collects and analyzes federal government data.

“You learn a lot in court, but not in time to be helpful,” Miss Long said. “It’s like a surgeon — you want one who does a good job.”

The United States granted asylum to 13,520 people last year, Citizenship and Immigration Services statistics show. People can seek asylum if they fear persecution for returning to their countries because of their race, religion, nationality or political views.

Until now, sites such as asylumlaw.org have had some statistics, but immigrant advocates said the information could be old or incomplete. Now immigrants can learn, for example, whether their judge once worked for the enforcement arm of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales ordered a review of the immigration courts in January, saying some judges showed “intemperate or even abusive” conduct toward asylum seekers.

Individual judges have remarkable range in denying asylum, from 10 percent to more than 98 percent, said a TRAC report released last month.

Monday’s release lets the public compare judges within each court or with others across the country.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide