Putting TRAC to Work
  Legal and Scholarly
Western Michigan University
December 2016

Who Controls Immigration Judges: Towards a Multi-Institutional Model of Administration Judge Behavior
By Mark Richard Beougher


Judge Burman was not as constrained by precedent or institutional constraints as his position as an ALJ would lead one to believe. An examination of his record on asylum cases conducted by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC 2012)reveals that he is consistently sympathetic to a wide range of petitioners. He has granted asylum to 64.7% of the asylum petitioners who have been in front of him in the last 5 years. This is a significantly higher rate than the national average of around 50% denial. One might be tempted to explain judge Burmanís behavior in this case as merely the actions of an outlier with sympathies towards asylum applicants. However, a comparison of his grant rates to the immigration judges in his same jurisdiction as well as other jurisdictions across the country reveals a surprising level of variation. Immigration judges, whether they preside over cases in the same court or across the country, grant asylum to petitioners at surprisingly divergent rates....... [Citing TRAC research].


Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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