Published Oct 19, 2023
Judge Weil was appointed as an Immigration Judge in October 1994. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1985, and a Juris Doctorate in 1988, both from the University of Maryland. Judge Weil worked as an associate counsel to the Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review, in Falls Church, Virginia, from 1990 to 1994. Prior to that, from 1988 to 1990, he was a judicial law clerk with the Immigration Court in San Diego. In 1988, he worked as a student intern with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service in Baltimore, Maryland. Judge Weil also did internships with the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, the law firm of Goldsobel, Permut & Co., in Haifa, Israel, and with counsel for CIGNA/AETNA. He is a member of the Maryland Bar.
Detailed data on decisions by Judge Weil were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2018 through 2023. During this period, court records show that Judge Weil decided 120 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, he granted asylum for 104, granted 2 other types of relief, and denied relief to 14. Converted to percentage terms, Weil denied 11.7 percent and granted 88.4 percent of asylum cases (including forms of relief other than asylum).
Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Weil's denial rate each fiscal year over this recent period. (Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)
Compared to Judge Weil's denial rate of 11.7 percent, Immigration Court judges across the country denied 60.6 percent of asylum claims during this same period. Judges at the Baltimore Immigration Court where Judge Weil decided these cases denied asylum 51.4 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Judge Weil's asylum grant and denial rates are compared with other judges serving on the same court in this table. Note that when an Immigration Judge serves on more than one court during the same period, separate Immigration Judge reports are created for any Court in which the judge rendered at least 100 asylum decisions.
Although denial rates are shaped by each Judge's judicial philosophy, denial rates are also shaped by other factors, such as the types of cases on the Judge's docket, the detained status of immigrant respondents, current immigration policies, and other factors beyond an individual Judge's control. For example, TRAC has previously found that legal representation and the nationality of the asylum seeker are just two factors that appear to impact asylum decision outcomes.
The composition of cases may differ significantly between Immigration Courts in the country. Within a single Court when cases are randomly assigned to judges sitting on that Court, each Judge should have roughly a similar composition of cases given a sufficient number of asylum cases. Then variations in asylum decisions among Judges on the same Immigration Court would appear to reflect, at least in part, the judicial philosophy that the Judge brings to the bench. However, if judges within a Court are assigned to specialized dockets or hearing locations, then case compositions are likely to continue to differ and can contribute to differences in asylum denial rates.
When asylum seekers are not represented by an attorney, almost all of them (80%) are denied asylum. In contrast, a significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful. In the case of Judge Weil, 0.8% were not represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole, about 15.7% 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.
The largest group of asylum seekers appearing before Judge Weil came from El Salvador. Individuals from this country made up 27.5% of his caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Weil were: Honduras (24.2%), Guatemala (15.0%), Nigeria (5.8%), Cameroon (5.0%). 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 (16.6%), Guatemala (15.1%), Honduras (13.8%), Mexico (9.2%), China (6.8%), India (5.1%), Venezuela (3.2%), Ecuador (3.1%), Cuba (2.4%), Nicaragua (2.3%), Brazil (2.0%), Colombia (1.4%), Cameroon (1.4%).