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Study: Asylum Disparities Rampant

Posted May 31, 2007 9:17 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A study by three law professors finds wide disparities in asylum cases and, at the initial appellate level, a decline in decisions favoring asylum seekers.

The outcome varied based on factors like the location of the court and the sex of the judge, according to a New York Times story on the findings.

A Chinese asylum seeker, for example, has a 76 percent chance of winning asylum in Orlando, Fla., and only a 7 percent chance in Atlanta.

Also, female immigration judges grant asylum at a 44 percent higher rate than males, possibly because females were more likely to have worked for groups that defended the poor or represented immigrants.

The study authors said procedural changes that streamlined the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2002 led to a sudden decline in decisions favoring asylum seekers. In 2001, 43 percent of asylum seekers represented by lawyers won favorable appellate decisions. In 2005, the number had dropped to 13 percent.

The ABA Journal first reported that preliminary results of ongoing study were showing wide discrepancies in its November 2006 feature article “Asylum Ordeals.”


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