Home > Immigration > Tools > Judge Reports

Judge Rico M. Sogocio
FY 2018 - 2023, Miami Immigration Court

Published Oct 19, 2023

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch appointed Rico M. Sogocio to begin hearing cases in October 2016. Judge Sogocio earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1987 from Northwestern University and a Juris Doctor in 1992 from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. From 2010 to October 2016, he served as a senior counsel for the Office of the General Counsel, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Department of Justice (DOJ), in Falls Church, Va. From 2002 through 2010, he held numerous positions in private practice, including: from 2008 through 2010 as principal and general counsel for Miami Media Labs LLC, in Miami; from 2005 through 2007 as an outside legal advisor for Nextream Broadband Inc., in Hallandale, Fla.; from 2004 through 2006 as principal and general counsel for IMProServices Inc., in Miami; and from 2002 through 2010 as of-counsel for Burgos & Sosa PA, in Miami. From 2001 through 2003, he served as a consultant for Plave Manten Consulting Group and as corporate counsel for PMC4 LLC, in Aventura, Fla. From 1999 through 2001, he served as a litigation associate for Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart PA, in Miami. From 1994 through 1999, he served in various capacities for the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, DOJ, including as an assistant district counsel and senior litigation counsel. From 1996 through 1998, he also served as a special assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida, DOJ. From 2008 through 2010, he served as an adjunct professor on the faculty of the Miami-Dade College Law Center. Judge Sogocio is a member of the Florida and Pennsylvania Bars.

Deciding Asylum Cases

Detailed data on decisions by Judge Sogocio were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2018 through 2023. During this period, court records show that Judge Sogocio decided 815 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, he granted asylum for 85, granted 7 other types of relief, and denied relief to 723. Converted to percentage terms, Sogocio denied 88.7 percent and granted 11.3 percent of asylum cases (including forms of relief other than asylum).

Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Sogocio's denial rate each fiscal year over this recent period. (Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)

Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied

Nationwide Comparisons

Compared to Judge Sogocio's denial rate of 88.7 percent, Immigration Court judges across the country denied 60.6 percent of asylum claims during this same period. Judges at the Miami Immigration Court where Judge Sogocio decided these cases denied asylum 85.3 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

Judge Sogocio's asylum grant and denial rates are compared with other judges serving on the same court in this table. Note that when an Immigration Judge serves on more than one court during the same period, separate Immigration Judge reports are created for any Court in which the judge rendered at least 100 asylum decisions.

Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)

Why Do Denial Rates Vary Among Judges?

Although denial rates are shaped by each Judge's judicial philosophy, denial rates are also shaped by other factors, such as the types of cases on the Judge's docket, the detained status of immigrant respondents, current immigration policies, and other factors beyond an individual Judge's control. For example, TRAC has previously found that legal representation and the nationality of the asylum seeker are just two factors that appear to impact asylum decision outcomes.

The composition of cases may differ significantly between Immigration Courts in the country. Within a single Court when cases are randomly assigned to judges sitting on that Court, each Judge should have roughly a similar composition of cases given a sufficient number of asylum cases. Then variations in asylum decisions among Judges on the same Immigration Court would appear to reflect, at least in part, the judicial philosophy that the Judge brings to the bench. However, if judges within a Court are assigned to specialized dockets or hearing locations, then case compositions are likely to continue to differ and can contribute to differences in asylum denial rates.


When asylum seekers are not represented by an attorney, almost all of them (80%) are denied asylum. In contrast, a significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful. In the case of Judge Sogocio, 13.4% were not represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole, about 15.7% of asylum seekers are not represented.

Figure 3: Asylum Seeker Had Representation


Asylum seekers are a diverse group. Over one hundred different nationalities had at least one hundred individuals claiming asylum decided during this period. As might be expected, immigration courts located in different parts of the country tend to have proportionately larger shares from some countries than from others. And, given the required legal grounds for a successful asylum claim, asylum seekers from some nations tend to be more successful than others.

The largest group of asylum seekers appearing before Judge Sogocio came from Guatemala. Individuals from this country made up 28.6% of his caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Sogocio were: Haiti (28.0%), Honduras (22.8%), El Salvador (4.8%), Venezuela (4.2%). See Figure 4.

In the nation as a whole during this same period, major nationalities of asylum seekers, in descending order of frequency, were El Salvador (16.6%), Guatemala (15.1%), Honduras (13.8%), Mexico (9.2%), China (6.8%), India (5.1%), Venezuela (3.2%), Ecuador (3.1%), Cuba (2.4%), Nicaragua (2.3%), Brazil (2.0%), Colombia (1.4%), Cameroon (1.4%).

Figure 4: Asylum Decisions by Nationality
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 trac@syr.edu or call 315-443-3563.