Cristina Rodríguez

Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law

(on leave, 2016–2017)

Cristina Rodríguez is the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Her research interests include constitutional law and theory; immigration law and policy; administrative law and process; language rights and policy; and citizenship theory.


Contact Information

Yale Law School

P.O. Box 208215

New Haven, CT 06520

Education & Curriculum Vitae

J.D., Yale Law School, 2000

M.Litt., University of Oxford, 1998

B.A., Yale University, 1995

Courses Taught

  • Administrative Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Immigration Law

Cristina Rodríguez is the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Her research interests include constitutional law and theory; immigration law and policy; administrative law and process; language rights and policy; and citizenship theory. In recent years, her work has focused on constitutional structures and institutional design. She has used immigration law and related areas as vehicles through which to explore how the allocation of power (through federalism and the separation of powers) shapes the management and resolution of legal and political conflict. Her work also has involved examination of the effects of immigration on society and culture, as well as the legal and political strategies societies adopt to absorb immigrant populations. Rodríguez joined Yale Law School in 2013 after serving for two years as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice. She was on the faculty at the New York University School of Law from 2004-2012 and has been Visiting Professor of Law at Stanford and Harvard Law Schools. She is a non-resident fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. and has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She earned her B.A. and J.D. degrees from Yale and attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where she received a Master of Letters in Modern History. Following law school, Rodríguez clerked for Judge David S. Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Professor Rodríguez’s YLJ Article Analyzes Immigration Executive Action

The legal issues surrounding President Obama’s executive actions were explored in-depth recently in a Yale Law Journal article written by Professors Cristina M. Rodríguez of Yale Law School and Adam B. Cox of NYU School of Law. The article is titled “The President and Immigration Law Redux.”

Friday, November 21, 2014

Professors Koh and Rodríguez Sign Letter Deeming Obama Immigration Action Legal

Professors Koh and Rodríguez pen letter with other top legal scholars declaring President Obama's new immigration policy legal.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Professors Listokin, Priest, and Rodríguez Receive New Faculty Appointments

The Yale Corporation has voted to approve three new appointments to the Yale Law School faculty.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cristina Rodríguez ’00 to Join Yale Law School Faculty as Professor of Law

Cristina Rodríguez ’00 will join the Yale Law School faculty as a professor of law on Jan. 28, 2013.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

NYU Law’s Cristina Rodriguez ’00 To Discuss Immigration at Thomas Lecture March 10

NYU Law Professor Cristina Rodriguez ’00 will deliver the 2007-2008 James A. Thomas Lecture on March 10, speaking on “Burden Sharing in an Age of Migration.”

Books and Book Chapters

IMMIGRATION  AND REFUGEE LAW & POLICY (with Stephen H. Legomsky) (Foundation Press 6th ed. 2015) (5th ed. 2009) (Supplements 2011 & 2013).

Language Rights and Migration, in THE ENCYCLOPEDIA  OF GLOBAL HUMAN MIGRATION  (Oxford University Press 2013)

Immigration and the Civil Rights Paradigm, in THE NEW BLACK: WHAT HAS CHANGED, AND WHAT HAS NOT, WITH RACE IN AMERICA (Guy-Uriel Charles & Ken Mack, eds., New Press, forthcoming 2013)

The Integrated Regime of Immigration Regulation, in WRITING IMMIGRATION: SCHOLARS AND JOURNALISTS IN DIALOGUE  (Roberto Suro & Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, eds., University of California Press 2011)

The Constitutional Status of Irregular Migrants: Testing the Boundaries of Human Rights Protection in Spain and the United States, in ARE HUMAN RIGHTS FOR MIGRANTS? (Marie Dembour & Tobias Kelley, eds., Routledge 2011) (with Ruth Rubio-Marín)

Legal Limits on Immigration Federalism, in TAKING LOCAL CONTROL: IMMIGRATION  POLICY ACTIVISM IN U.S. CITIES AND STATES (Monica Varsanyi, ed., Stanford University Press 2010) (with Muzaffar Chishti & Kimberly Nortman)


Articles & Essays

Complexity As Constraint, 115 Colum. L Rev. Sidebar 179 (2015)

The President and Immigration Law Redux, 125 Yale L.J. 104 (2015) (with Adam B. Cox)

Toward Detente in Immigration Federalism, 4 Virginia Journal of Law and Politics (forthcoming 2015)

Law and Borders, at (summer 2014)

Uniformity and Integrity in Immigration Law: Lessons from the Decisions of Justice (and Judge) Sotomayor, YALE L. J. FORUM (March 15, 2014). 

Negotiating Conflict Through Federalism: Institutional and Popular Perspectives, 123 YALE L. J. 2094 (2014) 

Immigration, Civil Rights, and the Formation of the People, 142 DAEDELUS  (2013)

The Relative Merits of Domestic and Transnational Regulation of Migration, NOMOS (forthcoming 2014)

Constraint through Delegation: The Case of Executive Control over Immigration Policy, 59 DUKE L.J. 1787 (2010) (reprinted in Immigration and Nationality Law Review)

Non-citizen Voting and the Extra-constitutional Construction of the Polity, 8 I * CON, The International Journal of Constitutional Law 30 (2010)

The President and Immigration Law, 119 YALE L. J. 458 (2009) (with Adam B. Cox)

The Significance of the Local in Immigration Regulation, 106 MICH. L. REV. 567(2008)

Guest Workers and Integration: Toward a Theory of What Immigrants and Americans Owe One Another, 2007

Language Diversity in the Workplace, 100 NORTHWESTERN  UNIV. L. REV. 1689 (2006)

Language and Participation, 94 CAL. L. REV. 687 (2006)

Accommodating Linguistic Difference: Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Language Rights in the United States, 36
HARV. C.R.-C.L. L. REV. 133 (2001)

Clearing the Smoke-Filled Room: Women Jurors and the Disruption of an Old-Boys’ Network in Nineteenth- Century America, 108 YALE L.J. 1805 (1999)

Essays & Reviews

Immigration and the Civil Rights Agenda, 6 STAN. J. C.R.-C.L. 123 (2010) (symposium issue: civil rights and the Obama administration) (reprinted in THE NEW BLACK: WHAT HAS CHANGED, AND WHAT HAS NOT, WITH RACE IN AMERICA (Guy-Uriel Charles & Ken Mack, eds., New Press, forthcoming

Transnational Regulation of Migration, 110 COLUM. L. REV. SIDEBAR 1 (2010)

The Citizenship Clause, Original Meaning, and the Egalitarian Unity of the Fourteenth Amendment, 11 UNIV. PENN. J. OF CONSTITUTIONAL  LAW 1363 (2009) (symposium issue: originalism and the Reconstruction Amendments)

A Review of Peter Spiro, Beyond Citizenship: American Identity after Globalization, 103 AMERICAN J. OF
INT’L L. 180 (2009)

Discrete and Insular No More, 12 HARV. LAT. LATINO REV. 41 (2009) (symposium issue in honor of the publication of Latinos and the Law (Delgado, Perea, Stefancic, eds.))

The Citizenship Paradox in a Transnational Age, 106 MICH. L. REV. 1111 (2008)

From Litigation, Legislation, 117 YALE L.J. 1132 (2008)

Against Individualized Consideration, 83 IND. L. J. 1405(2008) (symposium issue: Latino/as at the
Epicenter of Legal Discourse)

Latinos and Immigrants, 11 HARV. LATINO L. REV. 247 (2008) (symposium issue: Latino Civic

E Pluribus Unum: How bilingualism strengthens American democracy, DEMOCRACY: A JOURNAL OF IDEAS

Other Writings

Policy Papers and Briefs

Delegation and Divergence: A Study of the 287(g) Program and State and Local Immigration Enforcement, Migration Policy Institute Paper (2011) (with R. Capps, M. Rosenblum, M. Chishti)

A Program in Flux: New Priorities and Implementation Challenges for 287(g), Migration Policy Institute
Paper (2010) (with M. Chishti, R. Capps, L. St. John)

Regulating Immigration at the State Level: Highlights from the Database of 2007 Immigration Legislation and
, Migration Policy Institute Paper (2008) (with L. Laglagaron, A. Silver, S. Thanasombat)

Testing the Limits: A Framework for Assessing the Legality of State and Local Immigration Measures, Migration
Policy Institute Paper (2007) (with M. Chishti & K. Nortman)