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Judge Earle B. Wilson
FY 2018 - 2023, Atlanta Immigration Court

Published Oct 19, 2023

Judge Wilson was appointed as an Immigration Judge in October 2005. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1979 from Atlantic Union College, and a Juris Doctorate in 1989 from Howard University School of Law. Judge Wilson served as a senior litigation counsel from January 2003 to October 2004 and trial attorney from October 1998 to December 2002, both with the Office of Immigration Litigation, Department of Justice, in Washington, DC. He worked as an assistant U.S. attorney with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland from October 1996 to October 1998. Judge Wilson served as senior counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC, from February 1992 to October 1996. He was an associate attorney with the law firm of Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn in Detroit, Michigan, from August 1990 to February 1992. Judge Wilson served as law clerk to the Honorable Joseph W. Hatchett (retired) of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Tallahassee, Florida, from July 1989 to July 1990. He is a member of the Maryland Bar.

Deciding Asylum Cases

Detailed data on decisions by Judge Wilson were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2018 through 2023. During this period, court records show that Judge Wilson decided 178 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, he granted asylum for 3, granted 0 other types of relief, and denied relief to 175. Converted to percentage terms, Wilson denied 98.3 percent and granted 1.7 percent of asylum cases (including forms of relief other than asylum).

Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Wilson'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 Wilson's denial rate of 98.3 percent, Immigration Court judges across the country denied 60.6 percent of asylum claims during this same period. Judges at the Atlanta Immigration Court where Judge Wilson decided these cases denied asylum 89.5 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

Judge Wilson'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 Wilson, 12.4% 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 Wilson came from Guatemala. Individuals from this country made up 36.5% of his caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Wilson were: Honduras (25.3%), El Salvador (18.5%), Mexico (13.5%), China (1.1%). 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.