Putting TRAC to Work
Tamalpais Press

Passaic: The True Story of One Man's Journey Through American Immigration, Detention and Deportation
By Daniel Kuntsler

Judge Riefkohl has a reputation for evenhandedness, which, from the information I have gathered, is not undeserved. Data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University seem to bear this out. For the period 2000–2005, which coincides with Hemnauth’s detention, of the 208 immigration judges working for the Executive Office for Immigration Review with a total caseload of greater than 100 candidates each for deportation, Judge Riefkohl was ranked 183rd in frequency of asylum denials as a percent of cases heard. The sternest ofthe judges refused to grant asylum in 97% of the petitions that came before him. The median was 65%,about double Judge Riefkohl’s 38% rate of denial. The judge’s denial rate did increase in the 2002–2007 period to 42% under the impact of cases arriving before him subsequent to Hemnauth’s deportation. The mix of nationalities represented in a given judge’s caseload can affect outcomes, as can the percentage of respondents represented by counsel. Nevertheless, “decisions also appear to reflect in part the personal perspective that the judge brings to the bench.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2014
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