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Abel Rodríguez

Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
Director of the Clinic for Asylum, Refugee, and Emigrant Services (CARES)



Abel Rodríguez joined Villanova in 2021 as Visiting Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Clinic for Asylum, Refugee, and Emigrant Services (CARES). He teaches the clinic seminar and supervises student representation in affirmative and defensive asylum cases as well as other forms of immigration relief.

He joins Villanova while on leave from his role as Director of the Center on Immigration and Associate Professor of Religion, Law, and Social Justice at Cabrini University. At Cabrini, he has taught courses on immigration law and policy, ethics and race, and religion and law. In collaboration with grassroots organizations, he has also engaged students in advocacy for migrant justice at the state and national level. This advocacy work has included efforts to end family detention, the fight for driver’s licenses for all in Pennsylvania, and comprehensive immigration reform.

Prior to Cabrini, Rodríguez served as a staff attorney at Nationalities Service Center (NSC) and immigration specialist at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where he specialized in deportation defense for the formerly convicted and advised noncitizens of the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. At NSC, he taught the Temple Law School Immigration Clinic. He was also the Langer, Grogan, and Diver Fellow in Social Justice at Esperanza Immigration Legal Services, where he represented older adults and people with disabilities in their immigration matters.     

In addition to these teaching and practice experiences, Rodríguez teaches Crimmigration at Penn Law School. His research focuses on sanctuary and asylum as well as the intersection of criminal and immigration law.


Practice Experience

  • Staff Attorney, Nationalities Service Center
  • Immigration Specialist, Defender Association of Philadelphia
  • Langer, Grogan, and Diver Social Justice Fellow, Esperanza Immigration Legal Services


Visiting Assistant Professor Abel Rodríguez

Office: Rm 137, John F. Scarpa Hall
Phone: 610-519-7044


  • Penn Law School, JD
  • Harvard University, MTS
  • Stanford University, MA
  • Cabrini University, BA