Putting TRAC to Work
  Legal and Scholarly
August 1, 2018

Fewer 'Credible Fear' Rulings By Immigration Judges: Report
By Kevin Penton

Immigration judges in 2018 are increasingly denying petitions by foreign-born individuals who claim they credibly fear persecution should they be sent back to their home countries, according to data released this week by a Syracuse University research center. Judges have made credible fear determinations in less than 18 percent of reviews during each of the past five months, after 29 consecutive months in which the figure was at least 20 percent, according to the data released on Monday by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC. Judges made the determination in 14.7 percent of reviews this June, compared to 32.7 percent in June 2017, according to the data. Credible fear reviews are typically among the first steps that foreign-born individuals must undergo as part of petitioning for asylum, the qualifications for which the Trump administration has sought to narrow in recent months through determinations by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Immigration agents conduct the initial credible fear reviews, with courts reviewing the agents' determinations should an appeal be sought. "[The] data from the immigration court provides an early look at how the landscape for gaining asylum may be shifting under the current administration," the report says. "Unless asylum seekers, including parents with children, arriving at the southwest border pass this initial ... review, they are not even allowed to apply for asylum. As a consequence, individuals who don't pass these reviews face being quickly deported back to their home countries." TRAC also found sharp disparities in approval rates based on the immigration courts where the reviews were conducted and the individual judges who oversaw the process, according to the report.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2018
TRAC TRAC at Work TRAC TRAC at Work News Organizations News Organizations