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01/03/15: Buffalo News runs piece on Immigration; VLP’s Sophie Feal and Batavia Programs featured

01/03/15: Buffalo News runs piece on Immigration; VLP’s Sophie Feal and Batavia Programs featured

“Judges at the Federal Detention Center in Batavia grant less than 20 percent of all asylum claims, according to new data from Syracuse University. The high denial rates in Batavia, and to a lesser extent at immigration court in Buffalo, can be linked to the higher than normal number of asylum seekers without legal representation. ‘We know from experience that asylum seekers with attorneys have a much greater chance of being granted asylum,’ said Sophie Feal, an immigration lawyer with the Erie County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project.

The analysis by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse says asylum seekers without lawyers are denied asylum at a much higher rate – 89 percent – than asylum seekers with lawyers.

Feal says it’s not just the lack of legal representation; it’s the absence of money to hire medical and psychological experts to testify on behalf of clients.

The result, she said, is far too many cases where the asylum seeker’s claims of past or future persecution lacks proof.”

Read the full article here.

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