Tuesday, March 14, 2023

New Research from TRAC: Immigration Judges Overturn Negative Credible Fear Findings in 25% of Cases

A new research report finds that, on average, slightly over 25 percent of IJ decisions over the last 25 years have found that migrants had established having a credible fear of persecution or torture after an asylum officer initially denied the claim. 

The report examines over 100,000 credible fear cases have been heard by Immigration Judges. These cases determine whether the migrant has a credible fear of persecution or torture if returned to their home country. Given their critical nature, these cases receive priority on the Court’s docket and go to the head of the line. There they are speedily decided. On average, these decisions are made within ten days. Last month in February 2023, cases took an average of just five days.

The number of credible fear cases has generally been rising. It wasn’t until FY 2010 that cases climbed above 1,000 per year. In FY 2014, cases jumped to over 6,000 and they rose above 12,000 during FY 2019. This rise in large part reflects the increasing number of persons seeking asylum in this country, particularly along the US-Mexico border.

Nationality is a significant determinant in asylum decisions, so it is not surprising that IJs’ credible fear decisions also vary by country.

For example, Court records during the Biden years show Armenians, although relatively small in number (47) had the highest rate of establishing credible fear in their hearings before an Immigration Judge. Their rate was 70 percent. This was followed by individuals from Cameroon (68%), and Syria (65%). Nationalities with the least success in establishing credible fear during FY 2021 – February 2023 were migrants from Brazil (16%), Costa Rica (16%), and the Dominican Republic (19%).

See the whole report here: https://trac.syr.edu/reports/712/.



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