When you seek asylum in the U.S., your case may be reviewed by an Immigration Judge. But who is an immigration judge?
Who is the Immigration Judge?
An immigration judge is a United States government representative who decides on various immigrants’ cases, in particular, the cases of asylum seekers.
Different states in the U.S. have different immigration judges, but the immigration judges carry out the same duties such as:
- Presiding in formal hearings related to immigration cases, including asylum process.
- Taking final decisions (unless they are formally appealed) concerning the asylum process and immigration.
But when does the immigration judge step up in the asylum process? And will a certain judge deny your? We are going to answer these and other question in the sections below.
When the Immigration Judge Steps up in Asylum Process
Immigration judges are engaged in the defensive asylum process. If you illegally entered the U.S. territory, the USCIS asylum officer will redirect your case to the Immigration Court. You will have to attend a hearing.
At the hearing, you can hand the immigration judge your application for asylum. And you should also prepare evidence to prove that you are eligible for receiving asylum. You may need a lawyer to support your case; during the hearing, the asylum officer will represent USCIS.
The asylum officer wants to remove you from the United States, but only the Immigration Judge can adjudicate on your case. No matter what decision an immigration judge will make, you and the asylum officer are allowed to formally appeal to Board of Immigration Appeals.
You are also allowed to ask for an individual hearing with the judge. But usually it takes a lot of time before you get such a hearing.
Asylum Denial Rates by Immigration Judge
Asylum denial rates vary greatly depending on the immigration judge who takes decisions. There are so called “tough” judges, but there are also judges who take more positive decisions. To give you an example, if your asylum case would take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, then there is only 16 percent chance that you will be granted asylum. Put simply, in Charlotte a whopping 80+ percent of immigrants’ applications are denied by the immigration judges.
At the same time, in San Francisco the Immigration Judge Dalin Holyoak adjudicates in favor of immigrants in more than 50 percent cases.
Nevertheless, even if your case will be handled by an Immigration Judge who often orders asylum seekers deported, that does not automatically mean that you will be deported. Your main task is to gather convincing evidence and stick to your story during the hearing.
A great attorney or immigration lawyer will be of great help at your hearing. We advise you to hire a professional attorney to handle your case before the immigration judge. And so your chances to obtain asylum will seriously increase.