The immigration court in New York handles about 25% of all asylum cases in the United States but has been responsible for around 40% of all asylum grants since 2001. This is compared to the rest of the country, where the average denial rate for asylum applications was 69% in 2016, rising to 74% in 2019. This has given the New York immigration court a reputation for being the “asylum capital” of the United States, where those requesting asylum status have a much better chance of receiving relief than elsewhere.
The shift in asylum applications is blamed on several shifts in policy, which have led the court to deny more asylum applications than ever in the past. One policy shift was an instruction passed down by the Department of Justice- which oversees the immigration court system- that required all asylum cases to be handled within one year. Given that the average asylum case takes more than two years to resolve, this means some asylum applicants never get the opportunity to appropriately collect evidence or provide a defense for their request.
Another factor includes what the American Bar Association (ABA) referred to as “production quotas,” determining judges’ abilities by number of case completions, timeliness of decisions and percent of cases upheld on appeal. The ABA also noted that “immigration judges are in the untenable position of being both sworn to uphold judicial standards of impartiality and fairness while being subject to what appears to be politically-motivated performance standards.” The result is that judges need to comply with an aggressively anti-immigration foreign policy while also trying to conform to professional ethics, and it’s unclear if the balance between the two is tenable.
In this hostile landscape, it’s more important than ever that you have legal representation for your asylum case. The lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP are experienced in handling various immigration matters, including asylum applications. For more information or to schedule a consultation
at our New York City or New Jersey law office, call (212) 267-2555.