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Cabrini students and a statue of Jesus on campus

Abel Rodríguez, JD ('01)

Assistant Professor of Religion, Law, and Social Justice
Faculty Director, Center on Immigration

Abel Rodríguez ('01) teaches courses in the Department of Religious Studies and Cabrini’s Justice Matters core curriculum. His scholarship and teaching focus on immigrant justice. He is an active immigration advocate, providing pro bono representation to low-income clients in immigration court and engaging with organizations dedicated to Latina/o community empowerment.

Prior to Cabrini, Rodríguez held a split position as the Immigration Specialist at the Defender Association of Philadelphia and Staff Attorney at Nationalities Service Center, in which he advised noncitizen clients of the immigration consequences of their criminal convictions and represented the formerly convicted in deportation proceedings.

He also worked as the Langer, Grogan and Diver Fellow in Social Justice at Esperanza Immigration Legal Services, where he represented individuals with disabilities and older adults in their immigration matters.

He has taught the immigration clinic at Temple University Beasley School of Law, political science at La Salle University, and Spanish language at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rodríguez earned a juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard University, Master of Arts in Latin American Studies at Stanford University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish at Cabrini College.

Areas of Expertise

Immigration law and policy; the intersection of criminal and immigration law; religion and law

Publications and Advocacy Films

  • “Crimes and Immigration: Civil Advocacy for Noncitizens at the Intersection of Criminal and Immigration Law,” Social Work with Immigrants and Refugees: Legal Issues, Clinical Skills, and Advocacy (2016)
  • Boxed Out: Criminal Records and the Ban the Box Movement in Philadelphia, Co-Director and Co-Editor (2012)
  • The Solutions: Buduburam Refugee Settlement and Ghana’s Forgotten Guests, Director and Editor (2010)

Presentations

  • Guest Speaker, “Toward a More Just Narrative: Immigration Law, Race, and Social Justice in the United States,” Metanoia Young Adult Group, Collegeville, PA (May 17, 2016)
  • Panelist, “Abriendo Puertas: Strengthening Latino Communities Through Mentoring, Leadership and Increasing College Access,” Latino Empowerment Conference, Delaware County Community College, Marple, PA (April 15, 2016)
  • Panelist, Refugees in America and Abroad, Cabrini College and Catholic Relief Services, Radnor, PA (November 18, 2015) 
  • Panelist, Cross-Clinic Orientation, University of Pennsylvania Law School Clinical Programs, Philadelphia, PA (January 21, 2015)
  • Guest Lecturer, “Crimes and Deportation: Pitfalls and Strategies within the Criminal and Immigration Legal Systems,” Immigration Law Class, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, PA (November 3, 2014)
  • Guest Lecturer, Advising Non-Citizens in Criminal Proceedings, Criminal Defense Clinic, Drexel University Law School, Philadelphia, PA (October 29, 2014)
  • Panelist, “Effective Immigration Practice for Solo and Small Firms,” Bench-Bar and Annual Conference, Philadelphia Bar Association, Atlantic City, NJ (October 18, 2014)
  • Panelist, “Diversity in Public Interest,” Temple University Beasley School of Law, Philadelphia, PA (September 8, 2014)
  • Panelist, Know Your Criminal and Immigration Rights, Trans-Health Conference, Philadelphia, PA (June 14, 2014)
  • Panelist, Immigration Consequences of Criminal Proceedings, Philadelphia Municipal Court Judicial Conference, Philadelphia, PA (May 9, 2014)
  • Guest Lecturer, “Legal Challenges Facing Our Immigrant Communities,” TESOL Language and Linguistics Speaker Series, College of Education, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (April 24, 2014)
  • Trainer, “Encountering Immigration Issues Unexpectedly,” Criminal Defense Continuing Legal Education Training, Defender Association of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA (April 5, 2014)
  • Panelist, “A Dialogue about Immigration, Identity, and Policy,” Penn for Immigrant Rights, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (February 26, 2014)
  • Panelist, Penn Law Outreach Career Panel, Black Law Students Association, Penn Law School, Philadelphia, PA (February 8, 2014)
  • Panelist, “The Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity,” Drexel University Law School, Philadelphia, PA (January 27, 2014)
  • Trainer, Defenses to Deportation, Legal Assistance Program, Mexican Consulate of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA (December 27, 2013)
  • Panelist, Immigration Law and Practice Today, Villanova University Law School, Villanova, PA (November 21, 2013)
  • Guest Lecturer, “Criminal Records and the Ban the Box Movement in Philadelphia,” The Rich and the Poor, Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (November 7, 2013)
  • Guest Lecturer, Advising Non-Citizens in Criminal Proceedings, Criminal Defense Clinic, Drexel University Law School, Philadelphia, PA (October 21, 2013)
  • Panelist, “Hot Topics in Immigrant Rights and Immigration Law,” Philadelphia Bar Association, Philadelphia, PA (June 6, 2013)
  • Panelist, Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions and Sentencing in Pennsylvania Courts, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Philadelphia, PA (April 23, 2013)
  • Guest Lecturer, Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions, Immigration Clinic, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Philadelphia, PA (March 20, 2013)
  • Panelist, “How to Thrive as a Public Interest Lawyer,” Toll Public Interest Center, Penn Law School, Philadelphia, PA (March 14, 2013)
  • Guest Speaker, “Social Justice and Language Proficiency,” Phi Sigma Iota Honor Society Induction Ceremony, Cabrini College, Radnor, PA (March 8, 2013)
  • Speaker, Public Interest Fellowship Boot Camp, Toll Public Interest Center, Penn Law School, Philadelphia, PA (December 3, 2012)
  • Guest Lecturer, Advising Non-Citizens in Criminal Proceedings, Criminal Defense Clinic, Drexel University Law School, Philadelphia, PA (November 19, 2012)
  • Speaker, The Landscape of Immigration Law and Policy, Staff Institute Training, Cabrini College, Radnor, PA (June 26, 2012)
  • Trainer, Naturalization and Medical Waivers for Individuals with Disabilities, Continuing Legal Education Training, Esperanza Immigration Legal Services, Philadelphia, PA (June 15, 2012)
  • Panelist, Careers in Public Service, Esperanza College of Eastern University, Philadelphia, PA (May 9, 2012)
  • Panelist, Forum to Discuss Act 24 (requiring criminal background checks for school employees), Men in Motion in the Community, Philadelphia, PA (April 18, 2012)
  • Panelist, Career Panel for the Professions, University of Pennsylvania Mentoring Initiative, Philadelphia, PA (March 2012)
  • Guest Speaker, Criminal Records and the Ban the Box Movement in Philadelphia, Rutgers School of Law, Camden, NJ (February 15, 2012)
  • Panelist, Penn Law Outreach Career Panel, Black Law Students Association, Penn Law School, Philadelphia, PA (January 28, 2012)
  • Panelist, Criminal Records and the Ban the Box Movement in Philadelphia, Program on Documentaries and the Law, Penn Law School, Philadelphia, PA (January 18, 2012)
  • Panelist, Pursuing a Career in the Public Interest, Toll Public Interest Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (March 25, 2011)

Awards and Recognition

  • Toll Public Interest Scholar, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Exemplary Pro Bono Service Award, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Philadelphia Bar Association Law Student Pro Bono Honoree 

2020 ROADMAP:
Vision. Impact. Growth.

Discover Cabrini University's strategic plan for diversification, sustainable growth, and expanded outreach.