A growing number of judges are rejecting deportation requests by immigration officials, says a new report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
The report, based an analysis of immigration records between 1998 and 2010, says that in the last three months of fiscal year 2010 – in other words, July, August and September – immigration courts rejected one out of three requests to deport people.
The requests were made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, more commonly known as ICE.
“This turndown rate is up from what it was – one out of every four – 12 months earlier,” the report says.
In some regions of the country, some immigration courts turned down more than half of ICE’s deportation requests in fiscal year 2010.
Immigration courts in Los Angeles, New York City and Miami rejected the largest number of cases in that period, which runs from October, 2009 to September, 2010, the authors say.
Immigration court in New York City rejected 70 percent of the requests, judges in Oregon and Los Angeles turned down 63 percent, and judges in Miami rejected 59 percent.
The authors said that drawing concrete conclusions about the underlying reasons for the increased rejection rate was difficult because ICE “is refusing to release its own records” that would help interpret the data.
“The reason for the sharp uptick during FY 2010 in ICE’s unsuccessful attempts,” the report says, “appears primarily due to the increase in cases ‘terminated’ by a judge – that is, in cases where the judge finds that the government has no legitimate grounds for seeking a removal order.”