Judge Kristin W. Olmanson
FY 2015 - 2020, Bloomington Immigration Court
Judge Olmanson was appointed as an Immigration Judge in July 1999. She received a Bachelor
of Arts degree in 1985 from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minnesota, and a Juris
Doctorate in 1988 from William Mitchell College of Law, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Judge
Olmanson served as an assistant district counsel for the former Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) in Bloomington, Minnesota, from 1996 to 1999. She worked as an assistant
regional counsel for INS in its regional office in the Twin Cities from 1991 to 1996. From 1990
to 1991, Judge Olmanson worked as an assistant county attorney for Dakota County in Hastings,
Minnesota. She served as a trial attorney for INS in Seattle, Washington, from 1989 to 1990, and
in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from 1988 to 1989. Judge Olmanson is a member of the Minnesota
Deciding Asylum Cases
Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied
Detailed data on Judge Olmanson decisions were examined for the period covering
fiscal years 2015 through 2020. During this period, Judge
Olmanson is recorded as deciding 300 asylum claims on their merits. Of these,
she granted 64, gave no conditional grants, and denied 236.
Converted to percentage terms, Olmanson denied 78.7 percent and granted (including
conditional grants) 21.3 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Olmanson's
denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period.
(Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)
Compared to Judge Olmanson's denial rate of 78.7 percent, nationally
during this same period, immigration court judges denied 66.7 percent
of asylum claims. In the Bloomington Immigration Court where Judge Olmanson
was based, judges there denied asylum 73.1 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)
Judge Olmanson can also be ranked compared to each of the 526 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 526 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 526
represented the lowest - Judge Olmanson here receives a rank of 252. That is 251
judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 274 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.
Figure 3: Asylum Seeker Had Representation
If an asylum seeker is not represented by an
attorney, almost all (88%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a
significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful.
In the case of Judge Olmanson, 32% were not
represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole,
about 19% 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 Olmanson, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before her came
from Mexico. Individuals from this nation made up 13.3 % of her caseload.
Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Olmanson were:
Somalia (12.3 %), El Salvador (12%), Guatemala (11%), Ecuador (4.7%).
See Figure 4.
In the nation as a whole during this same period, major nationalities of asylum
seekers, in descending order of frequency, were El Salvador (18.1%), Guatemala (15.1%), Honduras (14.7%), Mexico (11.8%), China (10.2%), India (3.7%), Cuba (2.5%), Haiti (1.8%), Cameroon (1.5%), Venezuela (1.3%), Nepal (1.3%), Nicaragua (1.1%), Bangladesh (1.0%).