Home > Immigration > Tools > Judge Reports

Judge Renee L. Renner
FY 2018 - 2023, San Diego Immigration Court

Published Oct 19, 2023

Judge Renner was appointed as an Immigration Judge in January 2002. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1976 and a Juris Doctorate in 1979, both from the University of Florida; a Master of Laws degree in criminal law in 1992 from the University of San Diego ; a diploma in 1999 from the Naval War College ; and a Masters in military strategy in 2002 from the Army War College. Judge Renner served as assistant district counsel with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service in Los Angeles and San Diego, California, from 1995 to January 2002. From 1994 to 1995, she was an associate attorney with Grady and Associates, also in San Diego. Judge Renner served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1980 to 1993 and served as a military judge from 1989 to 1993. She has been a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves since November 1993, serving as a reserve staff judge advocate since 1999. Judge Renner is a member of the Florida and California Bars.

Deciding Asylum Cases

Detailed data on decisions by Judge Renner were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2018 through 2023. During this period, court records show that Judge Renner decided 149 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, she granted asylum for 14, granted 1 other types of relief, and denied relief to 134. Converted to percentage terms, Renner denied 89.9 percent and granted 10.1 percent of asylum cases (including forms of relief other than asylum).

Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Renner's denial rate each fiscal year over this recent period. (Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)

Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied

Nationwide Comparisons

Compared to Judge Renner's denial rate of 89.9 percent, Immigration Court judges across the country denied 60.6 percent of asylum claims during this same period. Judges at the San Diego Immigration Court where Judge Renner decided these cases denied asylum 73.4 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

Judge Renner'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.

Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)

Why Do Denial Rates Vary Among Judges?

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 Renner, 19.5% were not represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole, about 15.7% of asylum seekers are not represented.

Figure 3: Asylum Seeker Had Representation


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 Renner came from Mexico. Individuals from this country made up 28.2% of her caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Renner were: Guatemala (27.5%), El Salvador (9.4%), Honduras (5.4%), Nigeria (4.0%). 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%).

Figure 4: Asylum Decisions by Nationality
TRAC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit data research center affiliated with the Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Whitman School of Management, both at Syracuse University. For more information, to subscribe, or to donate, contact trac@syr.edu or call 315-443-3563.