Yolanda Vázquez

Headshot of Yolanda Vázquez

Yolanda Vázquez

Associate Professor of Law, College of Law

429 College of Law Building


Areas of Interest: Criminal Law and Procedure, Critical Race Theory/Race and the Law, Immigration Law, Property


Professor Vázquez is an expert in both the criminal justice and civil system. She teaches in the areas of immigration, property, criminal procedure, and crimmigration. Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Vázquez taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School where she taught crimmigration and in the civil litigation clinic in various areas, such as landlord-tenant, civil forfeiture, fraudulent title transfers, mortgage fraud, 1983 litigation, child support, and family law. She also taught at Villanova University School of Law and the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas where her teaching focused on issues impacting low wage workers and immigrants in both the civil and criminal justice system.

Prior to joining the academic world, Professor Vázquez was a litigator in both the criminal justice and civil system. She was a public defender in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office in Chicago as well as the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. She was a civil litigator at Camden Regional Legal Services and Legal Services of New Jersey on behalf of migrant farmworkers on issues of immigration, housing, employment, labor, and discrimination in both state and federal court.

Professor Vázquez’ research examines the incorporation of immigration law into the criminal justice system. Her scholarship has focused on the duties of criminal defense lawyers in advising noncitizen defendants on the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction. She has argued that criminal defense attorneys have a duty to their noncitizen clients, an argument which the United States Supreme Court agreed with in Padilla v. Kentucky, a case in which she assisted. Her research also examines the causes and consequences of the increasing role of the criminal justice system in migration control and its relationship and impact on Latinos. Her scholarship has been published across a range of sources, from various law journals to guest blogs such as The Society Pages, CrImmigration, and Border Criminologies. Her book, entitled CRIME, IMMIGRATION AND RACIAL SUBORDINATION will be published by Routledge Press forthcoming in late 2017.

Professor Vázquez’ work is recognized both nationally and internationally. She has presented her work at various international and national institutions such as Yale, Berkeley, Duke, the University of Oxford, the University of Leiden, and the University of Coimbra. She serves as an Academic Researcher for Border Criminologies, located within the University of Oxford, Faculty of Law, Centre for Criminology. In 2011, she was awarded the Jack Wasserman Memorial Award for Excellence in Litigation in the Field of Immigration law for her work on Padilla v. Kentucky.

Professor Vázquez is currently visiting at the University of Oxford, England, where she is working on a joint international project on race, migration, and crime with various interdisciplinary scholars across the globe with Oxford Professors Mary Bosworth and Alpa Parmar. The project will culminate in a co-edited book entitled ENFORCING THE BOUNDARIES OF BELONGING: RACE, CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND MIGRATION CONTROL, which will be published by Oxford University Press in late 2017.


BS, University of Wisconsin-Madison
JD, Chicago-Kent College of Law

Courses Taught

  • Criminal Procedure
  • Crimmigration
  • Immigration
  • Property



  • "Migration, Crime and the Chinese Exclusion Act: Inequity Wrapped in Terms of Dangerousness," Inequity and the Law, University of Kansas Law Review Symposium, 2017.
  • "Race and Identity in Legal Institutions: Enforcing the Politics of Race in Immigration and Crime Control, Race, Criminal Justice and Migration Control Symposium," University of Oxford, 2017.
  • Panel: Crimmigration After the 2016 Election, LatCrit XXI Biennial Conference, 2017, Orlando, FL.


  • Chapter: “Enforcing the politics of race and identity in migration and crime control policies” in Race, Criminal Justice and Migration Control: Enforcing the Boundaries of Belonging,Oxford University Press. Also co-edited the book.The expected release date is January, 2018.