Judge O. John Brahos
FY 2001 - 2006
Judge Brahos was appointed as an Immigration Judge in October 1982. He received an
undergraduate degree in 1956 from De Paul University, College of Commerce, and a Juris
Doctorate from De Paul University, College of Law, in 1959. Prior to joining the Executive
Office for Immigration Review, he served as general attorney, trial attorney, supervisory general
attorney, and attorney examiner from 1971 to 1982 for the former Immigration and
Naturalization Service in Chicago. Judge Brahos also served as an alternate member on the
Board of Immigration Appeals in 1991, 1993, and 1994. He is a member of the Illinois Bar.
Deciding Asylum Cases
Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied
Detailed data on Judge Brahos decisions are available for the period covering
fiscal years 2001 through 2006. During this period, Judge
Brahos is recorded as deciding 649 asylum claims on their merits. Of these,
he granted 178, gave no conditional grants, and denied 471.
Converted to percentage terms, Brahos denied 72.6 percent and granted (including
conditional grants) 27.4 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Brahos's
denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period.
Compared to Judge Brahos's denial rate of 72.6 percent, nationally
during this same period, immigration court judges denied 60.8 percent
of asylum claims. In the Chicago Immigration Court where Judge Brahos
was usually based, judges there denied asylum 63.1 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)
Judge Brahos can also be ranked compared to each of the 238 individual immigration judges
serving during this period who rendered at least one hundred decisions. If judges were ranked
from 1 to 238 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 238
represented the lowest - Judge Brahos receives a rank of 95. That is 94
judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 143 denied asylum at the same
rate or less often.
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 (87%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a
significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful.
In the case of Judge Brahos, 6.5% were not
represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole,
about 8.2% 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 Brahos, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before him came
from China. Individuals from this nation made up 15.6 % of his caseload.
Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Brahos were:
Guatemala (10 %), Albania (7.6%), Pakistan (4.9%), Yugoslavia (4.5%).
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 (22.3%), Colombia (10.2%), Haiti (9.9%), Albania (3.9%), Indonesia (3.8%),
India (3.5%), Guatemala (3.1%), El Salvador (2.1%), Armenia (2.1%), Mexico (1.7%),
Russia (1.6%), Ethiopia (1.6%), Pakistan (1.5%), and Cameroon (1.4%).