Judge Raisa Cohen
FY 2014 - 2019, New York Immigration Court
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch appointed Judge Raisa Cohen to begin hearing cases in March 2016. Judge Cohen earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2002 from Baruch College, City University of New York Zicklin School of Business, and a Juris Doctor in 2007 from St. John’s University School of Law. From September 2015 to February 2016, and previously from April 2009 to September 2014, Judge Cohen served as assistant chief counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in New York. From October 2014 to September 2015, Judge Cohen was an attorney at Cohen & Cohen Law Group PC, in New York. From 2007 through 2009, Judge Cohen was an immigration attorney at the Law Firm of Ted Sofer, in New York. Judge Cohen is a member of the New York State Bar.
Deciding Asylum Cases
Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied
Detailed data on Judge Cohen decisions were examined for the period covering
fiscal years 2014 through 2019. During this period, Judge
Cohen is recorded as deciding 710 asylum claims on their merits. Of these,
he granted 570, gave no conditional grants, and denied 140.
Converted to percentage terms, Cohen denied 19.7 percent and granted (including
conditional grants) 80.3 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Cohen's
denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period.
(Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)
Compared to Judge Cohen's denial rate of 19.7 percent, nationally
during this same period, immigration court judges denied 63.1 percent
of asylum claims. In the New York Immigration Court where Judge Cohen
was based, judges there denied asylum 26.7 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)
Judge Cohen 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 Cohen here receives a rank of 425. That is 424
judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 31 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.
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 Cohen, 1% 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.
Figure 4: Asylum Decisions by Nationality
For Judge Cohen, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before him came
from China. Individuals from this nation made up 33.5 % of his caseload.
Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Cohen were:
El Salvador (11.4 %), India (11.3%), Nepal (8.3%), Honduras (6.1%).
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%).