Immigration judges denied asylum claims at a record rate in FY2018, according to a new report from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) that tracks immigration court cases. According to the report, judges rejected 65% of claims between Oct. 1, 2017 and Sept. 30, 2018 and denied 78.6% of claims entered by individuals from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
The asylum denial rate has increased by more than 50% since FY2012 when 42% of asylum claims were rejected by immigration judges. The increase is due, in part, to changes the Obama administration made to the initial stage of the asylum process when an alien states that they have a credible fear of returning to their home country. The Trump administration strengthened the credible fear standard earlier this year.
The report also shows that immigration judges have increased the speed in which they handle asylum claims. Just three years ago, immigration judges handled fewer than 20,000 asylum cases, but they issued rulings in more than 42,000 cases in FY2018.
In order to receive asylum, an alien present in the United States must be able to prove that they fear persecution from their governments on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or particular social group. Many aliens who attempt to claim asylum, including those in the migrant caravan located at the U.S.-Mexico border, are economic migrants who don't qualify for asylum.
For the full report, see the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.