Published Oct 26, 2022
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.
Detailed data on decisions by Judge Tabaddor were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2017 through 2022. During this period, court records show that Judge Tabaddor decided 249 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, she granted asylum for 54, granted 14 other types of relief, and denied relief to 181. Converted to percentage terms, Tabaddor denied 72.7 percent and granted 27.3 percent of asylum cases (including forms of relief other than asylum).
Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Tabaddor's denial rate each fiscal year over this recent period. (Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)
Compared to Judge Tabaddor's denial rate of 72.7 percent, Immigration Court judges across the country denied 63.8 percent of asylum claims during this same period. Judges at the Los Angeles Immigration Court where Judge Tabaddor decided these cases denied asylum 70.5 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Judge Tabaddor'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 (83%) are denied asylum. In contrast, a significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful. In the case of Judge Tabaddor, 8% were not represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole, about 16.7% 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 Tabaddor came from El Salvador. Individuals from this country made up 46.2% of her caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Tabaddor were: Guatemala (19.7%), Mexico (9.6%), Honduras (9.2%), China (8.0%). 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 (18.2%), Guatemala (16.0%), Honduras (14.6%), Mexico (10.5%), China (7.5%), India (4.5%), Cuba (2.5%), Venezuela (2.1%), Ecuador (2.1%), Nicaragua (1.9%), Haiti (1.7%), Cameroon (1.5%), Nepal (1.2%).