Judge John Milo Bryant
FY 2012 - 2017, Arlington Immigration Court
Judge Bryant was appointed as an Immigration Judge in July 1987. He received a Bachelor of
Arts degree in 1972, and Master of Arts degree in 1973, both from Loyola University of Chicago.
He received a Juris Doctorate from George Mason University School of Law in 1977. Prior to
becoming an Immigration Judge, from 1983 to 1987, Judge Bryant was in private practice.
From 1980 to 1982, he served as an attorney with the U.S. International Trade Commission in
Washington, DC. He is a member of both the Virginia and District of Columbia Bars.
Deciding Asylum Cases
Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied
Detailed data on Judge Bryant decisions were examined for the period covering
fiscal years 2012 through 2017. During this period, Judge
Bryant is recorded as deciding 397 asylum claims on their merits. Of these,
he granted 329, gave no conditional grants, and denied 68.
Converted to percentage terms, Bryant denied 17.1 percent and granted (including
conditional grants) 82.9 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Bryant's
denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period.
(Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)
Compared to Judge Bryant's denial rate of 17.1 percent, nationally
during this same period, immigration court judges denied 52.8 percent
of asylum claims. In the Arlington Immigration Court where Judge Bryant
was based, judges there denied asylum 34.3 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)
Judge Bryant can also be ranked compared to each of the 293 individual immigration judges
serving during this period who rendered at least one hundred decisions in a city's immigration court. If judges were ranked
from 1 to 293 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 293
represented the lowest - Judge Bryant here receives a rank of 260. That is 259
judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 33 denied asylum at the same
rate or less often. Ranks are tallied separately for each immigration court. Should a judge serve on more than one court
during this period, separate ranks would be assigned in any court that the judge rendered at least 100 asylum decisions in.
Why Do Denial Rates Vary Among Judges?
Denial rates reflect in part the differing composition of cases assigned to
different immigration judges. For example, being represented in court and the nationality
of the asylum seeker appear to often impact decision outcome. Decisions also appear to
reflect in part the personal perspective that the judge brings to the bench.
Figure 3: Asylum Seeker Had Representation
If an asylum seeker is not represented by an
attorney, almost all (91%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a
significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful.
In the case of Judge Bryant, 5.8% were not
represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole,
about 20.2% of asylum seekers are not represented.
Asylum seekers are a
diverse group. Over one hundred different nationalities had at least one hundred
individuals claiming asylum decided during this period. As might be expected,
immigration courts located in different parts of the country tend to have
proportionately larger shares from some countries than from others. And, given
the required legal grounds for a successful asylum claim, asylum seekers
from some nations tend to be more successful than others.
Figure 4: Asylum Decisions by Nationality
For Judge Bryant, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before him came
from Ethiopia. Individuals from this nation made up 33 % of his caseload.
Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Bryant were:
El Salvador (12.3 %), Eritrea (6.5%), Cameroon (5.5%), China (5.3%).
See Figure 4.
In the nation as a whole during this same period, major nationalities of asylum
seekers, in descending order of frequency, were China (23.4%), El Salvador (11.7%), Mexico (11.0%), Honduras (8.3%), Guatemala (8.2%), India (2.9%), Nepal (2.0%), Haiti (2.0%), Ethiopia (1.7%), Somalia (1.4%), Eritrea (1.4%), Egypt (1.2%), Cameroon (1.0%).