Judge Andrew R. Arthur

FY 2006 - 2011, York Immigration Court

Andrew R. Arthur was appointed as an immigration judge in November 2006. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1988 from the University of Virginia and a juris doctorate in 1992 from George Washington University School of Law. From July 2001 to October 2006, he served as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims in Washington, D.C. From 1994 to 2001, Judge Arthur served in various positions at the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, including Assistant District Counsel in Baltimore and San Francisco, and Associate General Counsel in Washington, D.C. He served as an attorney advisor in the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer at the Executive Office for Immigration Review from June 1992 to September 1994. Judge Arthur is a member of the Maryland Bar.

Deciding Asylum Cases

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Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied

Detailed data on Judge Arthur decisions were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2006 through 2011 During this period, Judge Arthur is recorded as deciding 165 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, he granted 15, gave no conditional grants, and denied 150. Converted to percentage terms, Arthur denied 90.9 percent and granted (including conditional grants) 9.1 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Arthur's denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period. (Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)

Nationwide Comparisons

Compared to Judge Arthur's denial rate of 90.9 percent, nationally during this same period, immigration court judges denied 53.2 percent of asylum claims. In the York Immigration Court where Judge Arthur was based, judges there denied asylum 85.4 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

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Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)

Judge Arthur can also be ranked compared to each of the 256 individual immigration judges serving during this period who rendered at least one hundred decisions in a city's immigration court. If judges were ranked from 1 to 256 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 256 represented the lowest - Judge Arthur here receives a rank of 8. That is 7 judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 248 denied asylum at the same rate or less often. Ranks are tallied separately for each immigration court. Should a judge serve on more than one court during this period, separate ranks would be assigned in any court that the judge rendered at least 100 asylum decisions in.

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.

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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 Arthur, 43% were not represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole, about 11.1% 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.

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Figure 4: Asylum Decisions by Nationality

For Judge Arthur, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before him came from El Salvador. Individuals from this nation made up 10.9 % of his caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Arthur were: Iraq (6.1 %), Jamaica (6.1%), Haiti (5.5%), Honduras (4.8%). 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 (23.3%), Haiti (8.4%), El Salvador (5.9%), Colombia (5.5%), Guatemala (5.3%), Indonesia (2.9%), India (2.6%), Venezuela (2.5%), Ethiopia (2.1%), Albania (2%), Honduras (2%), Mexico (2%), Guinea (1.6%).

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