Tracking Immigration Court Outcomes by County of Immigrant's Residence

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University has just added new features that permit the public to examine the immigrant's residence in all deportation cases before the Immigrant Court. The new features track the state and county of residence during the period FY 2001 through February of 2018.

The newly expanded detail tool covers all Immigration Court deportation cases, both past and present. This joins TRAC's earlier released mapping tool which focuses just on currently pending court cases. The new tool is particularly powerful because users can drill in to see for any particular county or state the immigrants' custody status as well as the eventual outcomes for their Immigration Court proceeding. Details on whether the immigrants were represented or not are also available.

Both of these tools use the most recent address recorded in court records for each immigrant. When the individual is detained this is usually the address of the detention facility.

Contrasting Outcomes in Top Five Counties in the Country

There are stark contrasts in the typical outcome reached in Immigration Court cases for immigrants residing in different communities. Figure 1 and Table 1 illustrate these differences for the five counties in the country that had the most court cases completed over the period from October 2000 through February 2018. These five counties were: Los Angeles County (CA), Harris County (TX), Miami-Dade County (FL), Cameron County (TX), and Queens County (NY).

Figure 1. Immigration Court Outcome in Top 5 Counties
(Click for larger image)

Queens County in New York City had the highest proportion of immigrants who were granted relief and the lowest proportion who were ordered removed from the country. An important factor in the success rate for these immigrants is their ability to obtain representation. New York City has a large concentration of immigration attorneys able and willing - often without pay - to represent immigrants. Data show that representation has a very substantial impact on the outcome of immigrants' cases[1].

Table 1. Immigration Court Outcome in Top 5 Counties
Counties With Most Cases Total Removal Order Grant Relief Terminate Proceedings Voluntary Departure Pros. Discretion Other Closure
Number of Cases Completed
Los Angeles County (CA) 195,804 100,610 29,129 20,197 18,192 16,188 11,488
Harris County (TX) 111,389 85,722 7,777 5,783 9,284 147 2,676
Miami-Dade County (FL) 108,858 52,707 21,410 21,845 7,107 1,172 4,617
Cameron County (TX) 73,266 64,584 2,527 1,718 3,681 97 659
Queens County (NY) 70,164 21,539 32,714 6,950 2,534 2,200 4,227
Percentage of Cases Completed
Los Angeles County (CA) 100% 51% 15% 10% 9% 8% 6%
Harris County (TX) 100% 77% 7% 5% 8% 0% 2%
Miami-Dade County (FL) 100% 48% 20% 20% 7% 1% 4%
Cameron County (TX) 100% 88% 3% 2% 5% 0% 1%
Queens County (NY) 100% 31% 47% 10% 4% 3% 6%

Cameron County in Texas stands in sharp contrast to Queens County. Even immigrants who were never detained during their court proceedings were rarely represented. Over this entire time period, among those who were never detained, only 1,467 out of 38,708 found representation. However, many others were detained. Cameron County is the home of an important ICE detention facility, the Port Isabel Service Processing Center. Being detained can drastically cut down on a person's odds of obtaining relief, often in substantial part because of the difficulty of obtaining legal representation when the individual is locked up[2].

Los Angeles County in California had the largest number of residents with Immigration Court proceedings during this period. The proportion of immigrants ordered deported was 51 percent, with 15 percent granted relief - ranking in the middle on outcome for these five counties. The odds of representation was roughly half and half, with 52 percent with attorneys. Again, about half (53%) of residents of Queens County were never detained during their court proceedings.


[1] See, for example, TRAC's November 2017 report examining the impact of representation on asylum outcomes; a July 2015 TRAC Report on the fourteen-fold difference in outcomes for "Women with Children"; and a November 2014 TRAC report on the impact of representation on the outcome for unaccompanied children.

[2] See TRAC's October 2017 report on "Who Obtains Representation?" at

TRAC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit data research center affiliated with the Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Whitman School of Management, both at Syracuse University. For more information, to subscribe, or to donate, contact or call 315-443-3563.