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Asylum Denials at a 25-Year Low, But Still Distributed Unevenly

Immigration judges are denying fewer requests for asylum than at any other time in the past 25 years, according to a report out today from Syracuse’s

Amandeep Coleman
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Sep 02, 2010

Immigration judges are denying fewer requests for asylum than at any other time in the past 25 years, according to a report out today from Syracuse’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. During the first nine months of fiscal year 2010, judges turned down about half of the requests for asylum they received from illegal immigrants facing deportation. Asylum denials have been generally on the decline since 1986, when judges denied 89 percent of requests for asylum.

One reason for the shift may be an increase in the proportion of asylum-seekers with legal representation, which makes them success more likely, according to the report. But there are also better odds between illegal immigrants assigned to certain judges over others. Discrepancies have always been a part of the system, prompting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to order a review of the asylum system in 2006. TRAC determined immigrants in some courtrooms still have a better chance of asylum than others, although discrepancies appear to be on the decline.

Asylum is a somewhat thorny subject because it allows judges to halt deportation for some individuals. Zeituni Onyango, Obama’s aunt, was granted asylum in May after she argued she would be in danger in hr native Kenya. The Kenyan government said she was lying about her need for asylum, and many conservatives agreed. Immigrants rights groups argue asylum is an important resource for protecting the lives of immigrants who may be in danger in their home country.

Amandeep Coleman | Amandeep had never known a moment when she wasn't reading or making up stories, having been born into a family of readers. She took out a pencil and notebook during the now-famous blizzard and started writing down one of those stories. It was there that I began my professional life. Her first book was written after several rejections and manuscripts. She is a member of many writers' organizations and has received several accolades from her peers and the publishing industry. The New Yorker recently dubbed her "America's favorite novelist".


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