Miami Immigration Courts Voted Highly on Leniency, Study Shows

(ESPAÑOL) Which American Immigration courts are the most lenient in the country? A report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University recently published a list of the top five, graded on the proportion of individuals allowed to stay.

Ranking number one was the Phoenix Immigration Court (AZ), the New York Immigration Court (NY) ranked second, Denver (CO) came in third, San Antonio (TX) made fourth, and Miami (FL) came in fifth.

On the other end of the spectrum lied Oakdale, Louisiana, Lumpkin, Georgia, and Napanoch, New York, where only 11.3 to 17.5 percent of immigrants were allowed to stay.

The report goes on to describe a number of reasons why an individual may be allowed to remain in the country, such as the individual was entitled to asylum, the government did not meet its burden to show the individual was deportable, or through prosecutorial discretion, among other reasons.

“Prosecutorial discretion” includes the Obama administration’s encouragement of officials to avoid deporting undocumented immigrants under compelling reasons, such as a parent who cared for small children.

Miami immigration attorneys, such as Wilfredo Allen, were not surprised by the findings. “Across the board, we have a great judiciary in the immigration court in Miami. No. 1, it is extremely diverse. They have a good representation of a cross section of the country and the community. There are Hispanics, African Americans, men, women, young judges and older, really experienced judges,” added Allen.

Another immigration attorney in the area, Tammy Fox-Isicoff, attributed the low rates of removal to Miami not being a border city, and the foreign nationals in front of the judges have longstanding ties with the U.S. and their communities, placing them in the low priority removals of Obama’s prosecutorial discretion and the case’s administrative closing.

Results also vary outside of Miami, with centers like Krome in West-Dade showing only 38.1 percent of detainees allowed to remain in the country.