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Author Archives: Sabrina I. Pacifici

TRAC Releases New Asylum Data Tools, Adds Data on Gender, Language, and Age

“The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University released two brand new interactive asylum data tools that allow users to view detailed data on asylum applications and the asylum backlog in Immigration Court. TRAC also added detailed information on gender, language, and age—valuable information that is of considerable public interest—to its new and existing asylum tools. TRAC’s asylum tools are based upon a detailed analysis of the millions of Immigration Court records covering cases where applications for asylum were filed. These individual case records were obtained through requests made by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), a unit within the Department of Justice in which these administrative courts are housed.

  • TRAC’s “Asylum Filings” tool provides the public with the ability to view information about asylum cases based on when they were filed in Immigration Court. Users can view the current status of cases, case outcomes (if it has been rendered), case counts, and demographic data about applicants. Click here to view TRAC’s new asylum filings tool.
  • TRAC’s “Asylum Backlog” tool provides the public with the ability to view information about all pending cases on which asylum applications have been filed with the Immigration Courts. The number of pending asylum cases as well as wait times are available. One can now view the backlog by demographic data about applicants, representation, custody and more. (Note: Due to the length of time needed after the start of the case to file an asylum application, this tool provides an underestimate of the number of asylum seekers with pending cases since it misses those who have not yet filed their application.) Click here to view TRAC’s new asylum backlog tool.
  • TRAC’s “Asylum Decisions” tool provides the public with the ability to view information about all asylum decisions that have been entered by Immigration Judges. TRAC’s longstanding asylum decisions tool has been a staple of public understanding about asylum cases, but now includes additional data on language, gender, and age. Click here to view TRAC’s expanded asylum decisions tool.

What to Know About the Challenge to Roe v. Wade

KFF: “Abortion at SCOTUS: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health – “Abortion is among the most contentious issues in the country today. On December 1, the Supreme Court will hear the first abortion case since Justice Amy Coney Barrett was seated and cemented a solid 6-3 conservative majority on the bench. The case under consideration, Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of… Continue Reading

Who Owns a Recipe? A Plagiarism Claim Has Cookbook Authors Asking.

The New York Times: “U.S. copyright law protects all kinds of creative material, but recipe creators are mostly powerless in an age and a business that are all about sharing…U.S. copyright law seeks to protect “original works of authorship” by barring unauthorized copying of all kinds of creative material: sheet music, poetry, architectural works, paintings… Continue Reading

You’re not paranoid to cover your webcam. But the cameras you can’t cover are scarier.

The Washington Post: “Plastic sliders won’t solve the privacy problems of the future….But there’s a bigger question at play here, said Kavya Pearlman, CEO and co-founder of XR Safety Initiative, a not-for-profit that focuses on privacy and security in virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality settings. The cameras on our laptops, phones and tablets… Continue Reading

The Rise of Plain Language Laws

Blasie, Michael, The Rise of Plain Language Laws (October 1, 2021). University of Miami Law Review, 2022 Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or “When lawmakers enacted 778 plain language laws across the United States, no one noticed. Apart from a handful, these laws went untracked and unstudied. Without study, large questions remain about these… Continue Reading

Inside the ‘Misinformation’ Wars

The New York Times: “…While some academics use the term carefully, “misinformation” in the case of the lost laptop was more or less synonymous with “material passed along by Trump aides.” And in that context, the phrase “media manipulation” refers to any attempt to shape news coverage by people whose politics you dislike. (Emily Dreyfuss,… Continue Reading

Merriam-Webster chooses vaccine as the 2021 word of the year

AP: “With an expanded definition to reflect the times, Merriam-Webster has declared an omnipresent truth as its 2021 word of the year: vaccine. “This was a word that was extremely high in our data every single day in 2021,” Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, told The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s announcement. “It really represents two… Continue Reading

The Most Detailed Map of Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution in the U.S.

ProPublica: “It’s not a secret that industrial facilities emit hazardous air pollution. A new ProPublica analysis shows for the first time just how much toxic air pollution they emit — and how much the chemicals they unleash could be elevating cancer risk in their communities. ProPublica’s analysis of five years of modeled EPA data identified… Continue Reading