Judge Amiena Khan

FY 2015 - 2020, New York Immigration Court

Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Judge Khan in December 2010. Judge Khan received a bachelor of arts degree in 1983 from New York University Washington Square College of Arts and Science and a juris doctorate in 1987 from the New York Law School. From 1992 to December 2010, she was in private practice in New York, specializing in immigration law. From 1987 to 1992, she was in private practice in New York, practicing general litigation. Judge Khan is a member of the New York State Bar.

Deciding Asylum Cases

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Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied

Detailed data on Judge Khan decisions were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2015 through 2020. During this period, Judge Khan is recorded as deciding 512 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, she granted 454, gave no conditional grants, and denied 58. Converted to percentage terms, Khan denied 11.3 percent and granted (including conditional grants) 88.7 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Khan'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 Khan's denial rate of 11.3 percent, nationally during this same period, immigration court judges denied 66.7 percent of asylum claims. In the New York Immigration Court where Judge Khan was based, judges there denied asylum 32.4 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

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Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)

Judge Khan 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 Khan here receives a rank of 515. That is 514 judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 11 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 Khan, 1.4% 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 Khan, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before her came from China. Individuals from this nation made up 45.7 % of her caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Khan were: Nepal (7.2 %), Honduras (6.8%), India (6.8%), El Salvador (5.9%). 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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