Immigration Judges and Asylum Applications

Immigration Judges appointed during the Bush years have been justly criticized by federal judges and TalkLeft for writing opinions that, to put it nicely, don't make much sense. Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson chose IJ's for their loyalty to George Bush and Jesus, not for their understanding of immigration law or due process.

Federal appellate courts must be getting fed up with decisions from IJ's that ignore evidence, that fail to apply or even acknowledge the controlling legal standard, that are absent of legal reasoning. Reversals of immigation decisions are common, particularly when IJ's reject requests for political asylum.

According to an analysis by The New York Times, IJ's who were vetted by the Justice Department during the Goodling/Sampson years disproportionately reject asylum applications. [more ...]

The analysis suggests that the effects of a patronage-style selection process for immigration judges — used for three years before it was abandoned as illegal — are still being felt by scores of immigrants whose fates are determined by the judges installed in that period.

Asylum is granted to refugees who legitimately fear persecution on account of "race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion" if returned to their home countries. You'd think that Monica Goodling's choices would be sensitive to claims of religious persecution, but they tend to have a "that's the way it goes" attitude when told that applicants will be killed or beaten or raped or jailed because of their religious or ethnic identities or political beliefs.

Some judges are worse than others.

In Houston, for example, Judge Chris Brisack denied asylum in 90.7 percent of his cases, while other judges in that city averaged a 79.1 percent denial rate. Judge Brisack, a former Republican county chairman who also works in the oil business, did not return a call.

Three of the Goodling/Sampson-vetted judges have granted asylum requests at a significantly higher rate than their peers. It's reassuring to learn that Monica Goodling was not infallible.

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    I wish the analysis... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sat Aug 23, 2008 at 10:36:50 PM EST
    ...would have includes some sort of break-out by country of origin.  

    While this practice comes as no shock, it is important that it see the light of day.  

    I heard an excellent radio documentary (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by akaEloise on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 12:40:29 AM EST
    on the subject of asylum earlier this week:
    American Purgatory
    They had some great tape of an appellate judge (if I remember this correctly) arguing with an idiot from the immigration service who was trying to get a woman who had applied for asylum deported back to Iran.  

    Gotta commend you TChris... (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Sat Aug 23, 2008 at 10:34:35 PM EST
    your articles are among the best on here. I sometimes get focused on the sideshow that is American politics, but you do remind me of issues I should not forget or forgive!  :)

    The best part (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Sat Aug 23, 2008 at 10:41:48 PM EST
    Nothing will be done to get rid of these disgraces to the bench, since they are essentially, if I'm not mistaken, appointed for life.  

    I like your articles too (none / 0) (#5)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Aug 23, 2008 at 11:40:07 PM EST
    However, I get angry and sad when I read them. And more p**sed off at government and ugly Americans.

    now that you've let the cat(s) (none / 0) (#7)
    by cpinva on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:44:10 AM EST
    out of the bag, i'm sure the administration will take immediate steps to rectify ms. goodling's selection errors.

    Three of the Goodling/Sampson-vetted judges have granted asylum requests at a significantly higher rate than their peers. It's reassuring to learn that Monica Goodling was not infallible.