Judge Terry A. Bain

FY 2013 - 2018, New York Immigration Court

Judge Bain was appointed as an Immigration Judge in February 1994. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973 from George Washington University, and a Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School in 1980. From 1986 to 1994, she worked as an attorney for Whitman, Breed, Abbott & Morgan in New York. Judge Bain also worked in private practice with Barst & Mukamal in New York from 1981 to 1986. She is a member of the New York Bar.

Deciding Asylum Cases

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Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied

Detailed data on Judge Bain decisions were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2013 through 2018. During this period, Judge Bain is recorded as deciding 1769 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, she granted 1652, gave no conditional grants, and denied 117. Converted to percentage terms, Bain denied 6.6 percent and granted (including conditional grants) 93.4 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Bain's denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period.

Nationwide Comparisons

Compared to Judge Bain's denial rate of 6.6 percent, nationally during this same period, immigration court judges denied 57.6 percent of asylum claims. In the New York Immigration Court where Judge Bain was based, judges there denied asylum 20.4 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

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Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)

Judge Bain 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 Bain here receives a rank of 343. That is 342 judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 4 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 (91%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful. In the case of Judge Bain, 3.4% 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.

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Figure 4: Asylum Decisions by Nationality

For Judge Bain, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before her came from China. Individuals from this nation made up 57.6 % of her caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Bain were: India (6.3 %), Nepal (4.1%), El Salvador (3.5%), Soviet Union (3.3%). 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%).

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