The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association recently filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) about the judges at the El Paso Servicing Center. In their complaint, the lawyers state that the bias of these judges against their clients is preventing them from having fair hearings. The complaint relies heavily on statistics on the approval of asylum petitions at this location.
In FY 2017, the judges in the El Paso court approved only four of the 92 asylum cases that it heard, which is an approval rate of 4.5%. In FY 2016, the judges in this location approved asylum in three out of 133 cases. The nationwide average for the approval of asylum petitions by immigration courts is 40%.
The complainants also state that the judges are openly rude and hostile to their clients, treating them all with contempt. Furthermore, the judges have imposed an arbitrary 100-page limit on evidence in support of asylum claims and now require that all evidence be submitted prior to even scheduling a hearing. This requirement places a hardship on these immigrants, who often must request written documentation from their distance home countries. As a result, immigrants must either proceed and request a trial date based on the evidence they already have, or wait for more evidence, which only prolongs the court date and their detention, which may become indefinite.
Furthermore, Judge Abbott rarely grants bonds in asylum cases, which gives these immigrants little access to counsel, even by pro bono attorneys. While about 66% of non-detained individuals have the benefit of attorney representation, only about 14% of detained immigrants have an attorney. In assessing whether to grant bond, Abbott reportedly considers the strength of the immigrants’ asylum claim rather than assessing whether immigrants are flight risks or dangers to the community. Our Texas immigration lawyers are here to offer you the experienced legal representation and advice that you need in order to resolve your immigration law matter. We can act as your guide through the complicated immigration process to obtain the relief that you are seeking. Call our office today and learn about the type of assistance we can offer you.