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July 17, 2018

Tennessee immigration judges order record number of deportations, denials for asylum
By Mike Reicher

Deportation orders in Tennessee, Arkansas and northern Mississippi have increased nearly 50 percent since 2016, the year before President Donald Trump took office. The sharp increase, based on decisions from the Memphis Immigration Court, was driven by factors inside and outside the courtroom: the appointment of a judge with a track record of denying almost every asylum case, an increased number of Central American immigrants seeking asylum, and an increased caseload caused, in part, by policies established by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Tennessee's only immigration court is in Memphis.The court handles cases in Tennessee, Arkansas and northern Mississippi, as well as Kentucky. Judge Vernon Miles, who transferred to Memphis from San Antonio in October 2017, rejected 98 percent of asylum applications he faced before his transfer, according to the most recent report compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. That was one of the highest denial rates in the nation. Across the U.S., judges rejected an average of 53 percent of asylum cases between Fiscal 2012 and 2017.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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