Asylum Application Denials Reach Record Low, While Detained Asylum Seekers Go Unrepresented

TRAC reported this week that the odds of an asylum claim being denied reached an historic low in FY 2012, with only 44.5 percent being turned down. Ten years ago, almost two out of three (62.6%) individuals seeking asylum lost their cases in similar actions.

While the odds of winning a case have been improving, CIVIC has found that it has become increasingly difficult for people in immigration detention to find pro bono representation for asylum cases.  This phenomenon may be attributed to the decrease in asylum cases brought before an immigration judge: in 2003, 35,782 asylum cases were heard, but in FY 2012 there were only 21,512 asylum cases decided.  Asylum cases are more time consuming and more labor intensive than most forms of removal relief. 

According to TRAC, asylum applicants in 2012 made up more than a quarter (29.4%) of all cases closed under the prosecutorial discretion (PD) initiative during FY 2012. When those who won their cases are combined with PD closures as well as other administrative closures, a record high 63.7 percent of asylum applicants were allowed to remain in the United States in cases concluded in FY 2012.

Accompanying this TRAC report are 272 separate reports covering each Immigration Judge. A free webinar to discuss these findings is scheduled for Thursday, January 24 at 2:00 PM (Eastern US). For more information, use the following links:

FY 2012 Asylum Report 
Individual Judge Reports

Register for this free TRAC Webinar!

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If you are an attorney able to provide pro bono representation to someone in immigration detention, please contact CIVIC today at 385-212-4842 or at

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