Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Public Policy Analysis

Reader 1

David Menefee-Libey

Reader 2

Jennifer Groscup

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2017 Meagan L McIntyre

Abstract

This study examines decisions of immigration judges from the Miami and Los Angeles immigration courts, analyzing the asylum grant rates of judges in the courts from 2000-2016. In five-year time frames, the study looks at each immigration court and the decisions yielded, amounting up to nearly 86,000 decisions. Examining judges on an individual level, the study also analyzes the outputs of each court collectively. The analysis reveals very distinct disparities in grant rates, showing up to a 70% disparity between judges within the same immigration court. Based on biographies provided by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this paper explores possible correlations between various extralegal factors of individual immigration judges and their respective asylum grant rates. The results of the analysis showed correlation between gender, political party appointed under and the asylum grant rate, as well as strong correlation between judges’ previous work experience prior to appointment (DHS/INS experience, NGO experience) and the asylum grant rate. Additionally, the analysis reviews case law of the Ninth and Eleventh Circuit Courts, looking at distinct differences in the precedents of asylum law. The paper explores the tension between these judicial entities, the legislative branch, and the executive agencies enforcing the asylum adjudication process in the context of the Los Angeles and Miami immigration courts. The conclusion discusses the implications of the findings, especially in regards to the rapidly changing directives of the current executive administration.

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