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US immigration courts inconsistent in asylum cases: study

[JURIST] US immigration courts are inconsistent in granting asylum to applicants, according to a new study [materials] by three law professors to be published in the Stanford Law Review. The professors found that factors that contributed to the outcome of applications for asylum include the location of the court, the background of the judge, and the nationality of the applicant. For example, a person who has fled China has a 76 percent chance of winning their asylum case in the Orlando immigration court, but only a 7 percent chance in Atlanta. The New York Times Thursday quoted co-author Philip G. Schrag [faculty profile] of Georgetown University Law Center as saying he found the results "very disturbing" especially because often "these decisions can mean life or death" for the applicant, and the study suggests that the random assignment to a particular judge may be outcome determinative.

In February, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (CIRF) reported that the practice of expedited removal is causing the claims of some legitimate asylum seekers to be ignored [JURIST reports]. The latest draft legislation on immigration reform [JURIST news archive] does little to change the asylum process, although it could begin the road to citizenship for up to 12 million illegal immigrants in the US. The New York Times has more.

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