The stories of two women from Honduras illustrate a stark difference in immigration outcomes.
Fear for their lives and for the lives of their children drove them to seek asylum in the United States. One case was heard by a San Francisco immigration court judge: asylum granted.
The other case, which was assigned to an immigration court in Charlotte, North Carolina, was denied. The judge ordered her deported.
Reuters analyzed over 1,000 immigration court cases and determined that who hears a case and where it is heard are reliable predictors of how a case will be decided.
The findings underscore what academics and government watchdogs have long complained about U.S. immigration courts: Differences among judges and courts can render the system unfair and even inhumane.