Judge Tara Naselow-Nahas

FY 2014 - 2019, Los Angeles Immigration Court

Judge Naselow-Nahas was appointed as an immigration judge in November 2009. Shereceived a bachelor of arts degree in 1989 from the University of California, Santa Barbara, anda juris doctorate in 1992 from Whittier School of Law. From 2004 to November 2009, JudgeNaselow-Nahas served as deputy chief counsel, ICE, DHS, in Los Angeles. From 2003 to 2004,she served as assistant chief counsel for ICE, and from 1995 to 2003, she served as an assistantchief counsel for the former INS. From 1992 to 1995, Judge Naselow-Nahas worked as ajudicial law clerk at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. From 1991 to 1992, she served as alaw clerk, summer associate, and judicial extern. Judge Naselow-Nahas is a member of the StateBar of California.

Deciding Asylum Cases

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Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied

Detailed data on Judge Naselow-Nahas decisions were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2014 through 2019. During this period, Judge Naselow-Nahas is recorded as deciding 1081 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, she granted 74, gave no conditional grants, and denied 1007. Converted to percentage terms, Naselow-Nahas denied 93.2 percent and granted (including conditional grants) 6.8 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Naselow-Nahas's denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period.

Nationwide Comparisons

Compared to Judge Naselow-Nahas's denial rate of 93.2 percent, nationally during this same period, immigration court judges denied 63.1 percent of asylum claims. In the Los Angeles Immigration Court where Judge Naselow-Nahas was based, judges there denied asylum 70.8 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

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Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)

Judge Naselow-Nahas can also be ranked compared to each of the 456 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 456 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 456 represented the lowest - Judge Naselow-Nahas here receives a rank of 56. That is 55 judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 400 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 (89%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful. In the case of Judge Naselow-Nahas, 21.4% 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 Naselow-Nahas, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before her came from El Salvador. Individuals from this nation made up 37.3 % of her caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Naselow-Nahas were: Guatemala (20.4 %), Honduras (16%), Mexico (14%), China (4.3%). See Figure 4.

In the nation as a whole during this same period, major nationalities of asylum seekers, in descending order of frequency, were El Salvador (17.3%), China (13.5%), Honduras (13.3%), Guatemala (13.0%), Mexico (12.1%), India (3.8%), Haiti (2.1%), Nepal (1.6%), Cuba (1.2%), Eritrea (1.1%), Cameroon (1.1%), Bangladesh (1.0%), Ecuador (0.9%).

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