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U.S. Department of Justice
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Office of the Director
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2600
Falls Church, Virginia 22041

November 5 , 2007

Asylum Variations in Immigration Court

Asylum is an important protection available to aliens who are unable or unwilling to return to their country of nationality because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution.  The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), an office within the Department of Justice, is responsible for deciding asylum applications filed by aliens who are in removal proceedings.  An immigration judge decides the case in the first instance.  That decision may then be appealed to EOIR’s Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).  Asylum cases are judged based upon the law and the facts, and each case is protected by a robust review and appeal process.

Asylum adjudication does not lend itself well to statistical analysis.  Each asylum application is adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, and each has many variables that need to be considered by an adjudicator.  It is therefore important that any statistical analysis acknowledge these variables and not draw comparisons between substantially different cases.

As part of EOIR’s continuing efforts to ensure quality and further improve adjudications, the agency has moved forward with a number of measures, specified in August 2006 by former Attorney General Gonzales.  They include:

While much of the work is ongoing, EOIR has made substantial progress on implementing all of the Attorney General’s measures to improve the removal system.

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This backgrounder provides basic information on asylum variations in immigration court.  It is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice, nor does it constitute any legal opinion by the Department of Justice.  This fact sheet is not fully inclusive; does not address all applicable laws including case interpretation; and may be subject to change as new laws and regulations are enacted. 

EOIR, an office within the Department of Justice, is responsible for adjudicating immigration cases.  Specifically, under delegated authority from the Attorney General, EOIR interprets and administers federal immigration laws by conducting immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings.  EOIR consists of three components: the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge, which is responsible for managing the numerous immigration courts located throughout the United States where immigration judges adjudicate individual cases; the Board of Immigration Appeals, which primarily conducts appellate reviews of immigration judge decisions; and the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer, which adjudicates immigration-related employment cases.  EOIR is committed to providing fair, expeditious, and uniform application of the nation's immigration laws in all cases.


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