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Judge Quynh Vu Bain
FY 2018 - 2023, Arlington Immigration Court

Published Oct 19, 2023

Judge Bain was appointed as an immigration judge in March 2008. Shereceived a bachelor of arts degree in 1988 from Dickinson College and ajuris doctorate in 1991 from the Dickinson School of Law of thePennsylvania State University. From 2006 to 2008 and 1996 to 2001,Judge Bain served as senior litigation counsel and an appellate lawyerin the Department of Justice, Civil Division, Office of ImmigrationLitigation. From July 2003 to September 2006, she worked as a trialattorney in the Civil Division, Torts Branch, Environmental TortsSection. From 2001 to 2003, Judge Bain was detailed to the Office ofthe Deputy Attorney General where she served as counsel to the DeputyAttorney General. From 1991 to 1996, she was a trial attorney with theformer Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), entering on dutythrough the Attorney General?s Honors Program in 1991. From 2000 to2006, Judge Bain also served as an adjunct professor at AmericanUniversity, Washington College of Law, where she taught two courses inasylum and immigration law. She is a member of the Pennsylvania andNew York State bars.

Deciding Asylum Cases

Detailed data on decisions by Judge Bain were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2018 through 2023. During this period, court records show that Judge Bain decided 641 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, she granted asylum for 150, granted 5 other types of relief, and denied relief to 486. Converted to percentage terms, Bain denied 75.8 percent and granted 24.2 percent of asylum cases (including forms of relief other than asylum).

Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Bain'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 Bain's denial rate of 75.8 percent, Immigration Court judges across the country denied 60.6 percent of asylum claims during this same period. Judges at the Arlington Immigration Court where Judge Bain decided these cases denied asylum 55.8 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

Judge Bain'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 Bain, 10.5% 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 Bain came from El Salvador. Individuals from this country made up 60.2% of her caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Bain were: Honduras (22.9%), Guatemala (11.4%), Peru (1.6%), Ethiopia (1.4%). 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.