Judge William A. Cassidy

FY 2013 - 2018, Atlanta Immigration Court

Judge Cassidy was appointed as an Immigration Judge in October 1993. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Kenyon College in 1975, and a Juris Doctorate from John Marshall/Cleveland State University in 1980. As an Immigration Judge, he has worked in both the New York and Atlanta Immigration Courts. Prior to joining the Executive Office for Immigration Review, he was in private practice with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, in Cleveland, Ohio. From 1987 to 1992, Judge Cassidy served as both general attorney at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in Cleveland, and as director of training at INS Headquarters in Washington, DC. From 1984 to 1986, he served as law director/prosecutor with the City of North Ridgeville, and from 1981 to 1984, he served as an assistant county prosecutor for the Civil/Criminal Division with Cuyahoga County, both in Ohio. Judge Cassidy is a member of the Ohio Bar.

Deciding Asylum Cases

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Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied

Detailed data on Judge Cassidy decisions were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2013 through 2018. During this period, Judge Cassidy is recorded as deciding 240 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, he granted 10, gave no conditional grants, and denied 230. Converted to percentage terms, Cassidy denied 95.8 percent and granted (including conditional grants) 4.2 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Cassidy'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 Cassidy's denial rate of 95.8 percent, nationally during this same period, immigration court judges denied 57.6 percent of asylum claims. In the Atlanta Immigration Court where Judge Cassidy was based, judges there denied asylum 95.3 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

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Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)

Judge Cassidy can also be ranked compared to each of the 347 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 347 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 347 represented the lowest - Judge Cassidy here receives a rank of 22. That is 21 judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 325 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 (91%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful. In the case of Judge Cassidy, 47.5% were not represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole, about 20% 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 Cassidy, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before him came from El Salvador. Individuals from this nation made up 27.1 % of his caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Cassidy were: Haiti (10 %), Guatemala (8.8%), Honduras (7.9%), Nigeria (7.1%). 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 (18.5%), El Salvador (14.7%), Mexico (12.0%), Honduras (10.9%), Guatemala (10.3%), India (3.2%), Haiti (2.1%), Nepal (1.8%), Eritrea (1.3%), Ethiopia (1.3%), Somalia (1.2%), Cameroon (1.0%), Bangladesh (1.0%).

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