|(28 Nov 2017)
Very recent Immigration Court records reveal that the proportion of asylum seekers who are unable to obtain representation has risen markedly.
Ten years ago during FY 2007, only 13.6 percent were unrepresented. Five years ago (FY 2012), 15.8 percent were unrepresented. In FY 2017 the unrepresented figure was 20.6 percent.
At the same time, asylum decisions were up sharply during FY 2017. A total of 30,179 cases were decided by judges last year, a marked increase from 22,312 cases in FY 2016. This is the largest number of asylum cases decided in any one year since FY 2005. While asylum grants increased, denials grew even faster. This pushed the percent who were denied asylum to 61.8 percent. This is the fifth year in a row that denial rates have risen. Five years ago the denial rate was just 44.5 percent.
Without representation, the deck is stacked against an asylum seeker. Statistically, only one out of every ten win their case. With representation, nearly half are successful.
During FY 2012 - FY 2017, Jamaica had the highest denial rate (91.4%), followed closely by Laos (89.9%), the Philippines, (89.7%) and Mexico (88.0%). At the other extreme, the Soviet Union had the lowest denial rate (9.5%), with Byelorussia and Egypt with almost as low denial rates at 11.1 percent each.
More details on national trends, plus the impact of representation status and nationality on asylum outcome, are available in the second of TRAC's two-part series available at:
To read the first report in the series focusing on judge-by-judge differences in asylum decisions, go to:
In addition, many of TRAC's free query tools - which track the court's overall backlog, new DHS filings, court dispositions and much more - have now been updated through October 2017. For an index to the full list of TRAC's immigration tools go to:
If you want to be sure to receive notifications whenever updated data become available, sign up at:
or follow us on Twitter @tracreports or like us on Facebook:
TRAC is self-supporting and depends on foundation grants, individual contributions and subscription fees for the funding needed to obtain, analyze and publish the data we collect on the activities of the U.S. federal government. To help support TRAC's ongoing efforts, go to: