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					 Refugee Roulette:
Disparities in Asylum
    Adjudication

Profs. Jaya Ramji-Nogales,
   Andrew Schoenholtz
   and Philip G. Schrag
Affirmative Asylum Applications
            Size of Databases
Database                    Number of Asylum
                            Cases
Asylum Office Decisions,    130,000 (900 asylum
FY 1999-2005                officers)
Immigration Court           140,000 (225 judges)
Decisions, Jan. 2000
through August 2004
BIA Asylum Decisions, FY    101,000
1998-2005
US Courts of Appeals        4215
Decisions, Calendar Years
2004 and 2005
The 15 Asylee-producing Countries
             (APCs)
•   Albania      •   India
•   Armenia      •   Liberia
•   Cameroon     •   Mauritania*
•   China        •   Pakistan
•   Colombia     •   Russia
•   Ethiopia     •   Togo*
•   Guinea*      •   Venezuela*
•   Haiti
                 * Not included in Asylum Office
                    Studies
       Our Benchmark for
       Measuring Disparity
For the data set in question (as defined
 for each study), did an adjudicator
 render a decision favorable to the
 asylum applicant at a rate that was
 either more than 50% higher or more
 than 50% lower than the rate of such
 decisions by adjudicators from the
 same office?
Regional Asylum Offices
                 Asylum Office Regions A and H Grant
                 Rates in APC Cases (Officers with At
                         Least 50 APC Cases)
100%                                                                                                             100%


90%                                                                                                              90%


80%                                                                                                              80%


70%                                                                                                              70%


60%                                                                                                              60%


50%                                                                                                              50%


40%                                                                                                              40%



30%                                                                                                              30%



20%                                                                                                              20%



10%                                                                                                              10%



 0%                                                                                                               0%
       1 2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 2 21 2   2   2   2   2   2   2   2   3 31          1   3   5   7   9   11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53
                   Deviations from Region A Mean
                  for Strong Claim (APC) Countries
       (2 of 31 officers deviate from the office mean by more than 50%)

75%



50%



25%



 0%



-25%



-50%
                     Deviations from Region H Mean for
                        Strong Claim (APC) Countries
                (27 of 53 Officers deviate by more than 50%)
200%


150%


100%


 50%


  0%
        1   3    5   7   9   11   13   15   17   19   21   23   25   27   29   31   33   35   37   39   41   43   45   47   49   51   53



-50%


-100%
   Grant Rates and Percentage of Officers
(with at Least 50 cases) who Deviate by More
     than 50% from Regional APC Rates
             [N = 132,754 cases]
     Region     APC Grant   Percentage of Officers
                            who Deviate from
                Rate        Regional APC Grant
                            Rate by More than
                            50%

     D          62%         2%
     A          35%         6%
     C          56%         9%
     B          39%         11%
     E          26%         18%
     F          52%         22%
     G          38%         35%
     H          27%         51%
Asylum Officer Regions,
 Single Country Charts
Grant Rates and Deviations from
 Regional One-Country Means,
Officers with At Least 25 Cases
China
       Region C – Grant Rates (China)
                                                 Region C, China Grant Rates, Officers with 25+ cases


120%




100%




80%




60%




40%




20%




 0%
       1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42
    Region C – Officers’ Deviations from
   Regional China Mean (3/42 Deviate by
             More than 50%)
50%
40%
30%
20%

10%
 0%
       1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42
-10%
-20%
-30%
-40%
-50%

-60%
-70%
-80%
-90%
                       Region E – Grant Rates
                                                         Region E, Grant Rates, China


100%


90%


80%


70%


60%


50%


40%


30%


20%


10%


 0%
       1   3   5   7   9   11   13   15   17   19   21     23   25   27   29   31   33   35   37   39   41   43   45   47   49   51   53   55   57
            Region E (which shows less consistency in
          Chinese adjudications than Region C). Officers’
           Deviations from Regional China Mean (17/57
                    Deviate by More than 50%)
 270%
 260%
 250%
 240%
 230%
 220%
 210%
 200%
 190%
 180%
 170%
 160%
 150%
 140%
 130%
 120%
 110%
 100%
  90%
  80%
  70%
  60%
  50%
  40%
  30%
  20%
  10%
   0%
 -10%
 -20%   1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57
 -30%
 -40%
 -50%
 -60%
 -70%
 -80%
 -90%
-100%
-110%
-120%
Some Regions Have Much
Less Consistency Among
    Asylum Officers
      Region H – Grant Rates - China
                                     Grant Rates, China, Region H, Officers with 25+ Cases


80%



70%



60%



50%



40%



30%



20%



10%



0%
      1   3   5   7   9   11   13   15   17   19   21   23   25   27   29    31   33   35    37   39   41   43   45   47   49   51
Region H – Officers’ Deviations from Regional China
                       Mean
 400%
 350%

 300%

 250%

 200%
 150%

 100%

 50%

  0%
        1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52

 -50%

-100%
-150%
Grant Rates in China Cases, By
    Asylum Office Region
      [N = 38,748 cases]
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
 0%

       A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H
 Percentage of Officers Deviating from Regional China
Mean Grant Rates, By Region, Officers with At Least 50
 China Cases (Regions B and D Did Not Have Enough
      Such Officers to Chart) [N = 37,909 cases]



       60%

       50%
                                               A
       40%                                     C
                                               E
       30%
                                               F
       20%                                     G
                                               H
       10%

        0%
 China Grant Rates: All 146 officers who
     had at least 100 adjudications
100%



90%



80%



70%



60%



50%



40%



30%



20%



10%



 0%
       1   6   11   16   21   26   31   36   41   46   51   56   61   66   71   76   81   86   91   96 101 106 111 116 121 126 131 136 141 146
And It’s Not Just China…
   Region C – India – Grant Rates
100%



90%



80%



70%



60%



50%



40%



30%



20%



10%



 0%
       1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
           Region C – India – 15 of 39
       Officers Deviate by More than 50%
 15 0 %




 10 0 %




  50%




    0%
           1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39




 - 50%




- 10 0 %
The Immigration Courts
                        0%
                             10%
                                         20%
                                                      30%
                                                               40%
                                                                                 50%
                                                                                                60%
     Arlington (1349)




                                                               37%
        Atlanta (687)




                                   12%
    Baltimore (2304)




                                                                      41%
       Boston (1440)



                                                                    40%
     Chicago (1663)
                                                                38%
         Dallas (560)
                                                              37%



       Detroit (1462)

       Houston (796)                      19%
                                                              37%




 Los Angeles (6819)
                                                                      41%




    Memphis (1049)
                                                                     40%




      Miami (19,402)
                                                23%




  New York (27,942)
                                                                                        52%




      Newark (2392)
                                                                           42%




      Orlando (2974)
                                                                                  49%




  Philadelphia (1512)
                                                                39%
                                                                                                           Courts with More than 1500 Asylum Cases




    San Diego (449)
                                                        30%




San Francisco (5659)
                                                                                          54%
                                                                                                      Grant Rates for APC Cases, 2000-2004, in Immigration




     TOTAL (78,459)
                                                                     40%
                Grant Rates of New York Immigration
                       Judges, APC Cases,
                Judges with at Least 100 APC Cases
100%

                                                                                                                                                                              91%
90%                                                                                                                                                                     89%



                                                                                                                                                                  80%
80%                                                                                                                                                         77%
                                                                                                                                                      76%
                                                                                                                                                74%
                                                                                                                                          71%
                                                                                                                            69% 69% 69%
70%
                                                                                                                      66%
                                                                                                            62% 63%
                                                                                                      60%
60%
                                                                                                55%
                                                                                          52%
                                                                                    50%
50%                                                                           47%
                                                                    45% 45%


40%                                                           37%


                                                        29%
30%                                               28%
                                        27% 27%

                                  23%
                            19%
20%                   17%


                  1
                 1%
10%         7%
       6%



 0%
       1    2    3    4     5      6     7   8     9    10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
        New York Immigration Court Judges’ Deviations
        from the New York Mean, APC Cases, Judges
                 with 100 or More APC Cases
          (9 of 31 judges deviate by more than 50%)
 90%
 80%
 70%
 60%
  50%
 40%
 30%
 20%
  10%
   0%
 -10%
-20%
-30%
-40%
-50%
-60%
-70%
-80%
-90%
-100%
         Albanian Cases: New York Immigration Court
         Grant Rates, Judges with at least 50 Albanian
                Cases 2000-2004 (2173 cases)
110%

100%                                                                                                                                           96%
                                                                                                                       91%   92%   92%   93%

90%
                                                                                                           82%   83%

80%
                                                                                   71%   71%   71%   73%

70%                                                                          67%                                                                     67%
                                                                       64%
                                                                 62%
                                                         58%
60%
                                                 53%
                                 47%     48%
50%

40%
                         31%
30%              25%

20%

10%       5%

 0%
                                                  )




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                                                                                10 )
                                                24




                                                                                      50

                                                                                      70




                                                                                      08

                                                                                      20

                                                                                      13

                                                                                      25

                                                                                      17

                                                                                      36

                                                                                      10




                                                                                      12
                                                                                        6




                                                                                     (8




                                                                                     (5




                                                                                    41
      (8

              (9

                      (7

                              (7

                                      (6




                                                      (8

                                                              (9

                                                                                     (8
                                              (1




                                                                                   (1

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                                                                                 20
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                                                                                11




                                                                                13

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                                                                                15

                                                                                16

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                                                  7

                                                          8

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                                                                                n
                                                                              ea
                                                                            M
                                                                         rt
                                                                       ou
                                                                      C
        New York Immigration Court Judges’ Deviations
         from the New York Mean for Albanian Cases
 60%


 40%


 20%


  0%
         1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21

-20%


-40%


-60%


-80%


-100%
  Indian Cases: San Francisco Immigration Court
    Grant Rates, Judges with at least 50 Indian
          Cases 2000-2004 (3114 cases)
90%
                                                                                                                                           84%

80%
                                                                                                                                   73%
                                                                                                                           71%
70%                                                                                                                66%
                                                                                                           63%

60%
                                                                                   55%     56%     56%
                                                                   52%     53%
                                                                                                                                                  52%
                                                            50%
50%                                                 48%

                                            42%

40%
                                    35%


30%

                            21%
20%                  18%



10%           8%

      3%

0%
      1       2      3       4       5       6       7      8       9       10      11      12      13      14      15      16      17      18    Court
      (58)   (110)   (84)   (153)   (188)   (143)   (151)   (50)   (221)   (146)   (276)   (225)   (252)   (189)   (185)   (217)   (263)   (203) Mean
                                                                                                                                                 (3198)
                San Francisco Immigration Court Judges’
                Deviations from the San Francisco Mean
                     for Indian Cases (3114 Cases)
 70%
                                                                                                               61%
 60%
 50%
                                                                                                         40%
                                                                                                   37%
 40%
                                                                                             27%
 30%
                                                                                       21%
 20%
                                                                        5%   7%   7%
 10%                                                               3%
                                                              1%
  0%
         1      2      3      4      5      6       7     8
                                                        -4%   9    10   11   12   13   14    15    16    17    18
-10%
                                                  -8%
-20%
                                           -19%
-30%
-40%                                -34%

-50%
-60%
                             -60%
-70%                  -66%

-80%
-90%           -84%

-100%   -93%

-110%
             Chinese Cases: Los Angeles Immigration
             Court Grant Rates, Judges with at least 50
              Chinese Cases 2000-2004 (2579 cases)


90%
                                                                                                                                           81%
80%

70%
                                                                                                                         60%   62%   62%
                                                                                                                   60%
60%
                                                                                                       50%   51%
50%
                                                                                           41%   42%
40%                                                                            34%   34%
                                                                                                                                                 36%
                                                             30%   31%   32%
                                                       30%
30%                                              26%

                                           19%
20%                          16%     16%
             12%     13%
      9%
10%

0%
      )




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                             1)

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                                                            6)
    17




                    37




                                                          56

                                                          89

                                                          24




                                                          71

                                                          59




                                                          58

                                                          03




                                                          36

                                                          18

                                                          18
                                                         (9




                                                         (7




                                                         (7

                                                         (9

                                                         (9

                                                         (5




                                                        74
          (6




                          (8

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                                                     13




                                                     16

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 1




              3




                                      6

                                                     7

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                                                    11

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                                                    14

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                                                    20

                                                    21

                                                    22
      2




                      4

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                                                     9




                                                    n
                                                  ea
                                               tM
                                             ur
                                          Co
       Los Angeles Immigration Court Judges’ Deviations
         from the Los Angeles Mean for Chinese Cases
140%
130%
120%
110%
100%
 90%
 80%
 70%
 60%
 50%
 40%
 30%
 20%
 10%
  0%
-10%    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22
-20%
-30%
-40%
-50%
-60%
-70%
-80%
-90%
        Colombian Cases: Miami Immigration Court
       Grant Rates, Judges with at least 50 Colombian
               Cases 2000-2004 (8214 cases)

100%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       88%
90%

80%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        77%


70%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               58%
60%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   49%
50%                                                                                                                                                                                                    46%
                                                                                                                                                                                           39%
40%                                                                                                                                                                34%         35%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   30%
30%                                                                                                                                        25%         25%
                                                                                                                   21%         21%
                                                                                            18%        19%
20%                                                                   15%        16%
                                                13%        13%
                                     11%
10%              6%        7%
       5%

 0%
       1 (426)


                 2 (162)


                           3 (382)


                                      4 (386)


                                                 5 (255)


                                                            6 (437)


                                                                       7 (273)


                                                                                  8 (519)


                                                                                             9 (321)


                                                                                                        10 (393)


                                                                                                                    11 (399)


                                                                                                                                12 (370)


                                                                                                                                            13 (326)


                                                                                                                                                        14 (362)


                                                                                                                                                                    15 (443)


                                                                                                                                                                                16 (350)


                                                                                                                                                                                            17 (500)


                                                                                                                                                                                                        18 (541)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    19 (206)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                20 (279)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            21 (550)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        22 (334)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Court Mean
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     (8265)
        Miami Immigration Court Judges’ Deviations
        from the Miami Mean for Colombian Cases
 200%                                                                                                                                    193%
 190%
 180%
 170%
                                                                                                                                  155%
 160%
 150%
 140%
 130%
 120%
 110%
 100%                                                                                                                       93%
  90%
  80%
  70%                                                                                                                 63%
                                                                                                                54%
  60%
  50%
  40%                                                                                                     30%
  30%
                                                                                              13%   15%
  20%
  10%
   0%
 -10%    1    2      3      4      5    6      7    8      9    10     11   12     13   14    15    16    17    18    19    20     21     22
 -20%
                                                                                  -19% -18%
 -30%
 -40%                                                                 -30% -29%
 -50%                                                     -39% -37%
 -60%                                         -49% -47%
                                  -58% -57%
 -70%                      -65%
 -80%
                    -77%
 -90%   -84% -82%
-100%
         Effect of Representation
              on Grant Rate
100%
                                           89%
90%

80%

70%

60%

50%                     45.60%

40%

30%

20%       16.30%

10%

 0%
       Unrepresented   Represented    Represented by
                                       Georgetown
                                     University's Clinic
      Effect of Dependents on Grant Rates

50%                                48.2%
48%
46%
44%           42.3%
42%
40%
38%
           No Dependents        One Dependent
      Effect of Judge's Gender on
              Grant Rates
60%   53.8%
50%

40%                       37.3%

30%

20%

10%

0%

       78 Female Judges    169 Male Judges
                Effect of Prior Work Experience on Grant Rates

60%
                                                       55.4%
                                                                        52.3%
            47.1%          48.2%
50%                                                                                       46.3%
                                              44.2%                           43.2%
        39.6%                                              41.1%                                 39.5%
                      38.9%           37.4%
40%


30%


20%


10%


0%
                                         ry




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                                                                                    te
                                                                               va
G




                                                                                i
                                                                             Pr
                                       Experience     No Experience
      Effect of Prior INS/DHS Experience on Grant Rates

60%
         47.9%
50%                     43.7%
                                        40.7%
40%
                                                         30.6%
30%

20%

10%

0%
      No experience   1 to 5 Years   6 to 10 years   11 or more years
      Grant Rates by Gender and Prior
             Work Experience
70                                                                 64
                                                 59.4
60                    56.8
         49.8                                                               49.9
50                                 46.1
                                                            43.2
                   40.5                      39.6
40                              35.3                                     36.5
      33.9
30

20
10

0
     Government       No        DHS/INS     No DHS/INS       NGO         No NGO
     Experience   Government   Experience   Experience     Experience   Experience
                  Experience

                               Male Judge   Female Judge
     Grant Rate by Gender, Representation, and
               DHS/INS Experience
70
                 60.6
60
                                    48.5
50
          41.8
40                           37.7
                                                         31.4
30

20                                                14.3               14.3 13.6

10

0
      Representation and Representation and   No Representation   No Representation
         No DHS/INS      INS/DHS Experience    and No DHS/INS       and DHS/INS
         Experience                              Experience          Experience

                                Male judge    Female judge
The Board of Immigration Appeals
        All Immigration Cases Appealed
  from Board of Immigration Appeals to Federal
               Courts of Appeals
80%                                                                    Appeals to US
                                                                       courts
70%
                                                                              1000
60%
                                                                              800
50%
                                                                              600
40%
30%                                                                           400
20%
                                                                              200
10%
0%
                 2002            . . . . .Cases/month           2003
                                 appealed to circuits

       Percent of cases with panel opinions        Percent of cases remanded by Board
      Percentage of BIA Asylum Decisions
      Favorable to Applicants, By Type of
40%
       Decision, FY 98-00 and FY 03-05
35%


30%


25%
              Single member with short opinion
20%
              Affirmance without opinion
15%

              Single member (AWO + short
10%
              opinions)
 5%
              All asylum decisions

0%
      FY 98              FY99              FY00   FY 03   FY 04   FY05
BIA Asylum Grants and Remands as a Percentage
of all Cases (Excludes Cases Coded by BIA as Not
     Favoring Either Applicant or Government)



40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
 5%
 0%
      1998   1999   2000   2001   2002   2003   2004   2005
      BIA Grants and Remands, Showing Representation
                     (N = 9365 Appeals)

45%
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
 5%
 0%
       1998     1999   2000   2001   2002    2003   2004   2005

              Unrepresented   All cases     Represented
  The Drop in the Rate of BIA Decisions
Favorable to Asylum Applicants from APCs
50%


45%


40%


35%


30%


25%


20%


15%


10%


 5%


 0%
          FY 2001           FY 2002          FY 2005

 All APC cas es (15 countries )   APC repres ented cas es
         The Drop in Rate of Decisions
      Favorable to Asylum Applicants from
       Individual APCs, FY 2001 vs. 2002
80%

70%

60%                 FY 2001
50%                 FY 2002
40%

30%

20%

10%

0%
              a

            ia
             n




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                                                              Ve
                                          M
 C
The U.S. Courts of Appeals
      Rate of Votes to Remand in Asylum Cases,
        3d Cir Judges with at least 25 Cases,
              2004-05 (N=784 votes cast)
25%




20%




15%




10%




5%




0%
       1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16
               Individual Judges’ Deviations from
         12% Circuit Mean Rate of Votes to Remand,
       3d Cir., 2004-05 (Judges with 25 or More Votes)
   (Only 1 of 16 Judges Deviates from Circuit Mean by More than 50%)

70%


60%


50%


40%


30%


20%


10%


 0%
       1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16
-10%


-20%


-30%


-40%


-50%
      3d Circuit Remand Vote Rates by Party of
              Appointing President, 25+ cases
25%




20%




15%




10%

                                Rep. appointees (12%)
                                Dem. appointees (12%)


5%




0%
      0   1     2   3   4   5       6         7         8   9   10
      Rate of Votes to Remand in Asylum Cases,
        6th Cir Judges with at least 23 Cases,
              2004-05 (N=385 votes cast)
35%




30%




25%




20%




15%




10%




5%




0%
      1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13
            Individual Judges’ Deviations from
     11.4% Circuit Mean Rate of Votes to Remand,
    6th Cir., 2004-05 (Judges with 23 or More Votes)
        (7 of 13 Judges Deviate from Circuit Mean by More than 50%)

200%

150%

100%

 50%

  0%
           1    2   3    4    5   6    7    8   9    10   11   12     13



-50%

-100%

-150%
                      6th Circuit Remand Vote Rates
              by Party of Appointing President, 23+ cases
35%




30%




25%

                                         Democratic appointees 14.6%
                                         Republican appointees 9.3%
                                                                           Rep.
20%                                                                        Pres
                                                                           iden

15%




10%




5%




0%
      0   1       2      3    4    5     6            7           8    9
Remand Rates by Circuits, all 4215
   asylum appeals, 2004-05
 45%
 40%
 35%
 30%
 25%
 20%
 15%
 10%
  5%
  0%     1st    2d     3d      4th     5th     6th    7th     8th    9th   10th    11th     ALL
2004   10.30%   10%   7.10%   1.40%   4.30%   8.70% 33.90% 14.10% 18.30% 8.80%     4.40%   14.40%
2005   14.50% 17.60% 14.30% 2.40%     3.80%   16.50% 37.70%   7%    20.90% 9.40%   2.60%   16.40%
2004-05 12.80% 17.10% 10.90% 1.90%    4.10%   12.70% 36.10% 11.30% 19.50% 9.10%    3.80%   15.40%
                                   Federal Courts of Appeals
                                Votes to Reverse and/or Remand
                               (Asylum Cases in Red, Civil Cases in Blue)
                                                    (Prisoner Cases Excluded)

40%


35%


30%


25%


20%


15%


10%


5%


0%
      4th


                   5th
                         8th




                                                  6th


                                                             9th
                                                                    7th
                                                                          4th


                                                                                       5th
                                                                                             8th




                                                                                                                     6th


                                                                                                                                9th
                                                                                                                                      7th
            11th




                                10th




                                                                                11th




                                                                                                   10th
                                       1st




                                                                                                          1st
                                             3d


                                                        2d




                                                                                                                3d


                                                                                                                           2d
                                                             Federal Appeals Circuit
 Remand Rates by Circuits, the 2361
asylum appeals from “asylee-producing
         countries,” 2004-05

40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
      1st     2d      3d      4th    5th     6th    7th    8th      9th  10th   11th ALL
      (39)   (363)   (185)   (161)   (73)   (131)   (77)   (54)   (1100) (22)   (156) (2361)

				
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