September 26, 2008
Tough to get Asylum in York County
Asylum outcomes vary across the country. Daniel Paik reports for the Daily Record:
From fiscal years 2002 to 2007, immigration judges in York County denied asylum to three out of every four refugees, according to an analysis of more than 200 immigration judges in the country.
The average rate in the nation? About three out of five.
The data, compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, showed the frequency of asylum denials varied widely nationwide, sometimes within the same court.
It doesn't reflect the current lineup on the local immigration bench, however. One of York's judges moved to the Atlanta immigration court in 2006; her replacement arrived in 2007, and an additional judge was added to the county early this year.
The two York County judges analyzed in the report each denied asylum at a higher rate than the national average -- combined, their denials were 18 percent higher than the average. Several attorneys who have tried cases in the local court struggled to pinpoint a major reason why it was so much higher. Click here for the rest of the story.
September 26, 2008 | Permalink
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It's a pretty good article. I'd say the fact that a really large percentage of the cases there (maybe the majority, though I don't know) come from people detained at York prison surely is important. This is so for a few reasons. These cases are often not that strong, in my experience (I worked on a case from there at one point and was friends w/ the woman who ran the Immigrant Resource Center there for some time.) There are some good cases but lots of marginal ones, too. Perhaps more importantly, York is a long ways away from cities where it is easier for immigrants to get low-cost legal help. It's more than an hour from Philadelphia, the biggest near-by city, and most of the public interest immigration groups working there cannot regularly go to York so the chance of getting good legal help is a lot lower. This is of course important since even strong claims are hard to make, especially at the IJ level, without legal help. There are good lawyers working in the York area but not enough of them, given the detained population there. I would also be surprised if there were not an unconscious bias against detained immigrants as well, even though such facts rarely matter to the merits of their cases. Finally, detained aliens, a large percentage of the cases in York, have much less chance to gather needed materials, also hurting their cases. Between these facts I'd guess that the majority of the differences between, say, York and Philadelphia would be explained.
Posted by: Matt Lister | Sep 26, 2008 10:38:58 AM