If you are in removal proceedings, requesting asylum is one way to try and prevent deportation from the United States. In this process, which is known as making a defensive application for asylum, you must submit an application for asylum to the immigration court that is hearing your case.
Even if you may file an initial application for asylum with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through the affirmative asylum process, your application may be referred to an immigration court for a final decision.
Your chances of an immigration judge granting your request for asylum in either of these circumstances depends on several factors. One of the most significant factors is where your case is being heard. This is because immigration courts in some parts of the country are statistically much more likely to grant asylum requests than others. Specifically, relevant data indicates that immigration judges presiding at hearings in New York City are more likely to do so than their counterparts elsewhere.
New York immigration court asylum decisions — by the numbers
The numbers speak for themselves. For example, in August 2018, the Immigration Court presiding in New York City heard 727 asylum cases. Of those, it granted asylum in 485 cases, denied asylum in 232 cases, and granted another form of relief in 10. In September 2018, the same court heard 672 legal matters pertaining to asylum. Again, it awarded asylum in the majority (443) and denied asylum in only 213 cases, while awarding “other relief” in 16.
In comparison, the immigration court hearing asylum cases in upstate New York (Buffalo) heard only 17 asylum cases in August 2018. Of those, it denied asylum in 15 cases and granted it in only two. The next month, the same immigration court heard only 16 asylum cases, denying asylum in more than half (nine) and granting it in seven cases.
The discrepancy is even more apparent when the New York City numbers are compared to those from immigration court hearings held in Houston, Texas for the same two months. In August 2018, Houston immigration courts heard 287 asylum cases and denied asylum relief in all but 35 of them. In September 2018, the same immigration courts heard 235 asylum cases and denied asylum requests in 228.
Some New York immigration judges are more likely to grant asylum
Even if your asylum case is heard in New York City, there is another factor that will have a huge impact on whether or not you get asylum, and that is which immigration judge actually hears your case.
That’s because, as data from the 2013 through 2018 fiscal years confirms, some immigration judges are more likely to grant asylum than others. Of approximately 40 judges who presided at asylum cases during the time in question, most (34) granted asylum in at least 60 percent of the cases they heard. However, only 10 granted asylum in the vast majority of the cases they heard (at least 90 percent).
USCIS affirmative asylum case statistics for New York
It is important to note that the data provided above pertains only to affirmative asylum cases referred to immigration court, or to application for asylum made through the defensive asylum process.
USCIS also provides regular updates about the affirmative asylum cases that it processes. This includes information about the cases it refers to immigration court, and those that it decides itself.
Statistics provided for September 2018, show that the New York Asylum Office “completed” more than 1,590 cases that month. These include all cases resolved in some manner. Of the total number of cases resolved, the New York Asylum approved 108 asylum requests and denied only 14.
The statistics also indicate that the majority (68 percent) of asylum interviews scheduled at the New York Asylum Office in September 2018 were conducted. This is extremely important, because the interview is a key step in the asylum process.
Although all of this seems to give asylum seekers in New York certain advantages over those in other parts of the country, it is important to remember that applying for asylum here is seldom, if ever “easy.” With constant changes to U.S. immigration law and policies affecting asylum seekers, it is critical to get proper legal advice and effective representation. Contact us today.