Published Oct 19, 2023
Judge Beamer was appointed as an Immigration Judge in April 1997. Her jurisdiction covers Hawaii and Guam. Judge Beamer received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1977 from the University of Hawaii, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Hawaii, Richardson School of Law, in 1980. She served as assistant district counsel in the Honolulu District Office, former Immigration and Naturalization Service, from 1987 to 1997. Judge Beamer served as a deputy attorney general in the Criminal Justice and Labor and Industrial Relations Divisions for the Department of the Attorney General, State of Hawaii, from 1983 to 1987. Prior to this, she was in private practice. Judge Beamer is a member of the Hawaii Bar.
Detailed data on decisions by Judge Beamer were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2018 through 2023. During this period, court records show that Judge Beamer decided 522 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, she granted asylum for 231, granted 1 other types of relief, and denied relief to 290. Converted to percentage terms, Beamer denied 55.6 percent and granted 44.5 percent of asylum cases (including forms of relief other than asylum).
Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Beamer's denial rate each fiscal year over this recent period. (Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)
Compared to Judge Beamer's denial rate of 55.6 percent, Immigration Court judges across the country denied 60.6 percent of asylum claims during this same period. Judges at the Honolulu Immigration Court where Judge Beamer decided these cases denied asylum 43.4 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Judge Beamer'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 Beamer, 11.9% 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 Beamer came from China. Individuals from this country made up 83.5% of her caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Beamer were: Honduras (4.0%), Guatemala (1.9%), Russia (1.5%), Syria (1.3%). 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%).