Judge Carlos Cuevas
FY 2001 - 2006
Judge Cuevas was appointed as an Immigration Judge in February 1994. He received a Bachelor
of Arts degree from DePaul University in 1979, and a Juris Doctorate from DePaul University,
College of Law, in 1982. From 1989 to 1994, Judge Cuevas served as an administrative law
judge with the Illinois Human Rights Commission in Chicago. From 1986 to 1989, he was in
private practice in Chicago. Judge Cuevas served as an attorney with the Legal Assistance
Foundation of Chicago from 1982 to 1986. He is a member of the Illinois Bar.
Deciding Asylum Cases
Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied
Detailed data on Judge Cuevas decisions are available for the period covering
fiscal years 2001 through 2006. During this period, Judge
Cuevas is recorded as deciding 756 asylum claims on their merits. Of these,
he granted 353, gave 6 conditional grants, and denied 397.
Converted to percentage terms, Cuevas denied 52.5 percent and granted (including
conditional grants) 47.5 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Cuevas's
denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period.
Compared to Judge Cuevas's denial rate of 52.5 percent, nationally
during this same period, immigration court judges denied 60.8 percent
of asylum claims. In the Chicago Immigration Court where Judge Cuevas
was usually based, judges there denied asylum 63.1 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)
Judge Cuevas 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 Cuevas receives a rank of 175. That is 174
judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 63 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 Cuevas, 8.2% 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 Cuevas, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before him came
from Guatemala. Individuals from this nation made up 17.1 % of his caseload.
Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Cuevas were:
China (9.9 %), Albania (6.7%), Colombia (4.6%), Iraq (4.4%).
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 (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%).