Published Oct 19, 2023
Attorney General William P. Barr appointed Lorianne M. Campanella as an immigration judgein March 2020. Judge Campanella earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1987 from the State Universityof New York at Binghamton, a Juris Doctorate in 1990 from California Western School of Law,a Masters of Law in 1999 from the Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Legal Center andSchool, and a Masters of Strategic Studies in 2010 from the U.S. Army War College. In 2020,she retired from the U.S. Army after serving nearly three decades as an active JAG attorney. Hermilitary career spanned tours as a prosecutor, defense counsel, administrative law attorney,operational law attorney, Congressional liaison, deputy staff judge advocate and staff judgeadvocate. In her last combat tour, she served as the senior legal advisor for Regional CommandSouth, in Kandahar, Afghanistan. From 2018 to 2020, she served as the legal historian for theU.S. Army Office of the Judge Advocate General. From 2013 to 2018, she served as both anassociate and senior judge for the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. From 2010 to 2012, sheserved as staff judge advocate for the 82nd Airborne Division, both in combat and in garrison.Judge Campanella is a member of the State Bar of California.
Detailed data on decisions by Judge Campanella were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2018 through 2023. During this period, court records show that Judge Campanella decided 369 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, she granted asylum for 231, granted 5 other types of relief, and denied relief to 133. Converted to percentage terms, Campanella denied 36.0 percent and granted 64.0 percent of asylum cases (including forms of relief other than asylum).
Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Campanella's denial rate each fiscal year over this recent period. (Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)
Compared to Judge Campanella's denial rate of 36.0 percent, Immigration Court judges across the country denied 60.6 percent of asylum claims during this same period. Judges at the New York Immigration Court where Judge Campanella decided these cases denied asylum 34.4 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Judge Campanella'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.
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 Campanella, 0.8% were not represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole, about 15.7% of asylum seekers are not represented.
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 Campanella came from China. Individuals from this country made up 26.8% of her caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Campanella were: Bangladesh (10.8%), India (9.8%), El Salvador (5.7%), Albania (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 (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%).