Asylum: Variation Exists in Outcomes of Applications Across Immigration Courts and Judges, Report to Congressional Committees   [open pdf - 1MB]

"Tens of thousands of foreign nationals in the United States apply annually for asylum, which provides refuge to those who have been persecuted or fear persecution on protected grounds. EOIR's [Executive Office for Immigration Review] immigration judges decide asylum application outcomes in court proceedings. In 2008, GAO [Government Accountability Office] reported that EOIR data from October 1994 through April 2007 showed significant variation in the outcomes across immigration courts and judges (grants versus denials) of such applications. The Senate Appropriations Committee report for DHS [Department of Homeland Security] Appropriations Act, 2015, included a provision for GAO to update its 2008 report. This report examines (1) variation in asylum applications outcomes over time and across courts and judges; (2) factors associated with variability; and (3) EOIR's actions to facilitate asylum applicants' access to legal resources. GAO analyzed EOIR data-using multivariate statistics-on asylum outcomes from fiscal years 1995 through 2014, the most current data available at the time of GAO's analysis; reviewed EOIR policies and procedures; and interviewed EOIR officials and immigration judges about court proceedings and legal access programs. GAO observed asylum hearings in 10 immigration courts selected on the basis of application data and other factors. GAO recommends that EOIR develop and implement a system of performance measures, including establishing a baseline, to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of LOP [Legal Orientation Program] and LOPC [Legal Orientation Program for Custodians of Unaccompanied Alien Children]. EOIR concurred with GAO's recommendation."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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