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Judge Alexandra R. Larsen
FY 2018 - 2023, Omaha Immigration Court

Published Oct 19, 2023

Attorney General William Barr appointed Alexandra Larsen to begin hearing cases in October2019. Judge Larsen earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1996 from Macalester College and a JurisDoctor in 2002 from Creighton University School of Law. From 2014 to 2019, she served as anassistant chief counsel, Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), Immigration and CustomsEnforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in Omaha, Nebraska. From 2012to 2014, she served as an assistant chief counsel, OPLA, ICE, DHS, in Saint Paul, Minnesota.From 2011 to 2012, she served as deputy chief and chief of OPLA, District Court LitigationDivision (DCLD), ICE, DHS, in the District of Columbia. From 2008 to 2011, she served as anassociate legal advisor for the DCLD, ICE, DHS, in the District of Columbia. From 2007 to2008, she served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Donald E. O’Brien in the U.S. DistrictCourt for the Northern District of Iowa, in Sioux City, Iowa. From 2002 to 2007, she practicedcivil litigation in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, and the District of Columbia. Judge Larsen is amember of the District of Columbia Bar and Nebraska State Bar.

Deciding Asylum Cases

Detailed data on decisions by Judge Larsen were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2018 through 2023. During this period, court records show that Judge Larsen decided 521 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, she granted asylum for 14, granted 8 other types of relief, and denied relief to 499. Converted to percentage terms, Larsen denied 95.8 percent and granted 4.2 percent of asylum cases (including forms of relief other than asylum).

Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Larsen'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 Larsen's denial rate of 95.8 percent, Immigration Court judges across the country denied 60.6 percent of asylum claims during this same period. Judges at the Omaha Immigration Court where Judge Larsen decided these cases denied asylum 89.7 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

Judge Larsen'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 Larsen, 3.8% 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 Larsen came from Guatemala. Individuals from this country made up 44.1% of her caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Larsen were: El Salvador (19.0%), Mexico (12.3%), Honduras (9.4%), Iraq (2.3%). 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 (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.