Judge Jennie L. Giambastiani
FY 2014 - 2019, Chicago Immigration Court
Judge Giambastiani was appointed as an Immigration Judge in May 2002. She received a
Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983 from Loyola University of Chicago, and a Juris Doctorate from
Loyola University School of Law in 1986. Prior to becoming an Immigration Judge, from April
1987 until May 2002, Judge Giambastiani served as district counsel, deputy district counsel,
assistant district counsel, and supervisory legalization officer for the former Immigration and
Naturalization Service in Chicago. Judge Giambastiani is a member of the Illinois Bar.
Deciding Asylum Cases
Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied
Detailed data on Judge Giambastiani decisions were examined for the period covering
fiscal years 2014 through 2019. During this period, Judge
Giambastiani is recorded as deciding 458 asylum claims on their merits. Of these,
she granted 188, gave no conditional grants, and denied 270.
Converted to percentage terms, Giambastiani denied 59 percent and granted (including
conditional grants) 41 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Giambastiani's
denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period.
Compared to Judge Giambastiani's denial rate of 59 percent, nationally
during this same period, immigration court judges denied 63.1 percent
of asylum claims. In the Chicago Immigration Court where Judge Giambastiani
was based, judges there denied asylum 50 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)
Judge Giambastiani can also be ranked compared to each of the 456 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 456 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 456
represented the lowest - Judge Giambastiani here receives a rank of 315. That is 314
judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 141 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 (89%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a
significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful.
In the case of Judge Giambastiani, 23.6% 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 Giambastiani, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before her came
from Honduras. Individuals from this nation made up 24.2 % of her caseload.
Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Giambastiani were:
El Salvador (20.3 %), Mexico (16.4%), Guatemala (15.9%), China (7.4%).
See Figure 4.
In the nation as a whole during this same period, major nationalities of asylum
seekers, in descending order of frequency, were El Salvador (17.3%), China (13.5%), Honduras (13.3%), Guatemala (13.0%), Mexico (12.1%), India (3.8%), Haiti (2.1%), Nepal (1.6%), Cuba (1.2%), Eritrea (1.1%), Cameroon (1.1%), Bangladesh (1.0%), Ecuador (0.9%).