Judge Earle B. Wilson

FY 2015 - 2020, Atlanta Immigration Court

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

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Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied

Detailed data on Judge Wilson decisions were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2015 through 2020. During this period, Judge Wilson is recorded as deciding 1011 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, he granted 18, gave no conditional grants, and denied 993. Converted to percentage terms, Wilson denied 98.2 percent and granted (including conditional grants) 1.8 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Wilson's denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period. (Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)

Nationwide Comparisons

Compared to Judge Wilson's denial rate of 98.2 percent, nationally during this same period, immigration court judges denied 66.7 percent of asylum claims. In the Atlanta Immigration Court where Judge Wilson was based, judges there denied asylum 96.6 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

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Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)

Judge Wilson can also be ranked compared to each of the 526 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 526 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 526 represented the lowest - Judge Wilson here receives a rank of 12. That is 11 judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 514 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.

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Figure 3: Asylum Seeker Had Representation

If an asylum seeker is not represented by an attorney, almost all (88%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful. In the case of Judge Wilson, 17.4% were not represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole, about 19% 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.

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Figure 4: Asylum Decisions by Nationality

For Judge Wilson, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before him came from Guatemala. Individuals from this nation made up 36.5 % of his caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Wilson were: Mexico (20.5 %), El Salvador (20.4%), Honduras (19.6%), China (0.6%). 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 (18.1%), Guatemala (15.1%), Honduras (14.7%), Mexico (11.8%), China (10.2%), India (3.7%), Cuba (2.5%), Haiti (1.8%), Cameroon (1.5%), Venezuela (1.3%), Nepal (1.3%), Nicaragua (1.1%), Bangladesh (1.0%).

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