Report: Huge Differences in How Immigration Judges Handle Asylum Cases

There is a good reason that Lady Justice is depicted wearing a blindfold. As an allegorical representation of a fair, moral justice system, her blindfold serves to show us that justice must be objective. The blindfold represents the ideal of impartial justice. Our judges are tasked with applying the law in a fair manner, leaving aside their personal opinions, political views, and biases.

Of course, Lady Justice represents an ideal legal system. In reality, no system is perfect. Unfortunately, our immigration system falls short in far too many cases. Different judges can make different rulings on the same set of facts. A recent immigration law story from the Los Angeles Times demonstrates the dramatic impact that judges can have the outcomes of cases. In asylum cases, certain judges are far more favorable to applicants.

Immigration Judges Grant Asylum at Vastly Different Rates

According to the reporting of the Los Angeles Times, immigration judges are handling asylum cases in vastly different ways. There are 34 immigration judges in Los Angeles who have ruled on asylum proceedings. On one end of the spectrum, two Los Angeles immigration judges have granted asylum to applicants in just 3 percent of cases. On the other end of the spectrum, one immigration judge granted asylum in 71 percent of cases. Clearly, this is a dramatic disparity.

These differences are not specific to Los Angeles. Quite the contrary, the Los Angeles Times found that there was an even larger disparity among immigration judges in San Francisco. In that city, one judge granted approval in only 3 percent of asylum claims, while another judge approved 91 percent of asylum claims. While the cases that different immigration judges are dealing with are not always apples-to-apples comparisons, there is little doubt that different judges are using different standards when reviewing asylum claims.

Working With a Lawyer Will Vastly Improve Your Chances

If you or a family member is applying for asylum in the United States, it is imperative that you hire a skilled  asylum lawyer. Not only are there differences in success rates from judge to judge, but the data is clear: applicants who are represented by an attorney are far more likely to have their asylum claim approved by the court. In fact, the evidence suggests that asylum applicants who work with an attorney are approximately 5 times more likely to have their immigration claim approved. Get a lawyer by your side as early on in the process as possible.

Get Help From an Immigration Lawyer Today

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our asylum attorney is standing by, ready to protect your rights. Asylum cases are nuanced, complex, and unique. If you are seeking asylum, you should always be represented by a qualified attorney.

For help with your case, please call us today to arrange a fully private initial consultation. From our office in Los Angeles, we serve immigrants throughout Southern California, including in Long Beach, Santa Monica, Pasadena, West Covina, Torrance, and Beverly Hills.