Judge Afsaneh Ashley Tabaddor
FY 2013 - 2018, Los Angeles Immigration Court
Judge Tabaddor was appointed as an immigration judge in November 2005. She received a
bachelor of arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, (cum laude) in 1994, and
a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in 1997.
Judge Tabaddor served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California in Los
Angeles from May 2002 to November 2005. During this period, Judge Tabaddor also served as
an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Law School. She served as a trial
attorney with the Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, Department of Justice, in
Washington, D.C., from September 2000 to May 2002. During this period, Judge Tabaddor also
served as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School. She served
in the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge in Falls Church, Va., as an attorney advisor from
July 1999 to September 2000, and as a judicial law clerk/attorney advisor from September 1997
to July 1999. Judge Tabaddor worked as a summer law intern in the immigration court in
Los Angeles from June 1996 to August 1996. She is a member of the California Bar.
Deciding Asylum Cases
Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied
Detailed data on Judge Tabaddor decisions were examined for the period covering
fiscal years 2013 through 2018. During this period, Judge
Tabaddor is recorded as deciding 509 asylum claims on their merits. Of these,
she granted 99, gave no conditional grants, and denied 410.
Converted to percentage terms, Tabaddor denied 80.6 percent and granted (including
conditional grants) 19.4 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Tabaddor's
denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period.
Compared to Judge Tabaddor's denial rate of 80.6 percent, nationally
during this same period, immigration court judges denied 57.6 percent
of asylum claims. In the Los Angeles Immigration Court where Judge Tabaddor
was based, judges there denied asylum 65.2 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)
Judge Tabaddor can also be ranked compared to each of the 347 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 347 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 347
represented the lowest - Judge Tabaddor here receives a rank of 131. That is 130
judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 216 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 (91%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a
significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful.
In the case of Judge Tabaddor, 11.2% were not
represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole,
about 20% 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 Tabaddor, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before her came
from El Salvador. Individuals from this nation made up 42 % of her caseload.
Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Tabaddor were:
Guatemala (20.2 %), China (11.8%), Honduras (7.7%), Mexico (6.7%).
See Figure 4.
In the nation as a whole during this same period, major nationalities of asylum
seekers, in descending order of frequency, were China (18.5%), El Salvador (14.7%), Mexico (12.0%), Honduras (10.9%), Guatemala (10.3%), India (3.2%), Haiti (2.1%), Nepal (1.8%), Eritrea (1.3%), Ethiopia (1.3%), Somalia (1.2%), Cameroon (1.0%), Bangladesh (1.0%).