I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Analysis: El Paso immigration judges have a higher denial rate than average
An analysis by the Transactional Records Clearinghouse at Syracuse University shows that two immigration judges in El Paso, Tex., have a much higher denial rate than the national average. El Paso borders Juarez, Mexico, a city known for its out-of-control drug violence; there have been about 1,220 homicides this year, while there were 3,100 in 2010.
Judges rejected 53.2 percent of asylum cases nationally between 2006 and 2011. However, two judges in El Paso denied 83.3 percent of cases. Judge Thomas C. Roepke denied 148 of 153 petitions, for a 96.7 percent denial rate. Judge William L. Abbott denied 74.6 percent of cases, or 144 out of 193.
The study notes, “the unusual persistence of these disparities — no matter how the asylum cases are examined — indicates that the identity of the judge who handles a particular matter often is more important than the underlying facts.”
Asylum-seekers need to be in the United States; be afraid of persecution; be harmed or fear harm by the government or others; be affected by at least one of several defined conditions, including political opinion, race, religion, nationality, and social group; and not be a “dangerous person.”
Immigration lawyers say judges look less favorably upon Mexican applicants for asylum because the United States has given Mexico significant political backing and financial assistance to fight the drug cartels, and admitting that the government cannot protect its citizens — or persecutes them — would harm relations.
Meanwhile, the State Department’s 2010 Human Rights Report on Mexico said the country reported, “unlawful killings by security forces; kidnappings; physical abuse; poor and overcrowded prison conditions; arbitrary arrests and detention; corruption, inefficiency, and lack of transparency that engendered impunity within the judicial system; confessions coerced through torture; violence and threats against journalists leading to self-censorship.”