Judge Sandy K. Hom
FY 2009 - 2014, New York Immigration Court
Judge Horn was appointed as an Immigration Judge in April 1993. He received a Bachelor of
Arts degree from Simpson College in 1971, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of
Mississippi in 1973. Prior to working for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, he was
a partner with Horn & Hsiung, Esquires from 1985 to 1993 in New York. He also served as
chief legal counsel to the Presiding Bishop for the Episcopal Church for Refugee and Migration
matters. From 1979 to 1985, Judge Horn worked as a senior trial attorney for the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission in New York. He also worked as a senior attorney for
District Counsel 37, Municipal Employees Legal Services, from 1977 to 1979 in New York.
Judge Horn served as senior litigation attorney for the New York State Division of Human
Rights from 1975 to 1977. He worked as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society, Immigration
Unit, in New York, from 1973 to 1975. He is a member of both the Mississippi and New York
Deciding Asylum Cases
Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied
Detailed data on Judge Hom decisions were examined for the period covering
fiscal years 2009 through the first nine months of 2014. During this period, Judge
Hom is recorded as deciding 1164 asylum claims on their merits. Of these,
he granted 511, gave no conditional grants, and denied 653.
Converted to percentage terms, Hom denied 56.1 percent and granted (including
conditional grants) 43.9 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Hom's
denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period.
Compared to Judge Hom's denial rate of 56.1 percent, nationally
during this same period, immigration court judges denied 48.5 percent
of asylum claims. In the New York Immigration Court where Judge Hom
was based, judges there denied asylum 20.7 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)
Judge Hom can also be ranked compared to each of the 270 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 270 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 270
represented the lowest - Judge Hom here receives a rank of 155. That is 154
judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 115 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 (89%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a
significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful.
In the case of Judge Hom, 10.1% were not
represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole,
about 14.6% 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 Hom, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before him came
from China. Individuals from this nation made up 43.2 % of his caseload.
Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Hom were:
Guinea (5.2 %), Nepal (5.2%), Soviet Union (5%), Mali (4%).
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 (28.5%), El Salvador (6.8%), Mexico (5.9%), Guatemala (5.7%), Haiti (3.1%), Honduras (2.9%), India (2.7%), Ethiopia (2.5%), Colombia (2.2%), Nepal (2.1%), Indonesia (1.5%), Eritrea (1.5%), Venezuela (1.5%).