My research program has 3 major strands. The official academic description of my research program is here, however, it’s important for me to underscore that it been shaped by my many years as an organizer and activist:

  1. The political economy and governance of global labor migration;
  2. Migrants’ rights, belonging and citizenship;
  3. Racialization and racial formation.

Though I’ve been mainly focused on the Filipino labor diaspora, it has not been my exclusive focus. For instance, my recently completed book manuscript, “In Lady Liberty’s Shadow: Race and Immigration in Post-9/11 New Jersey” to be published next year by Rutgers University Press closely examines the experiences of Latino and South Asian immigrants. Click here for the abstract.


I’m working on what will probably been an edited anthology on the topic, “21st Century Coolies? Asian Contract Labor Today.”img_2555 I’ve been paying close attention to the global promotion of temporary labor migration programs (or TLMPs).  In the U.S. for example, legislators have often called for TLMPs supposedly as a way of offering a chance for the undocumented to “come out of the shadows.” Yet, may migrant activists insist that programs like these are problematic for several reasons. First, these programs have the potential of locking migrants into exploitative working conditions. What can happen is that a migrant is put into the position of trading their undocumented status for ties to an employer to whom she/he depends on both their ability to work and to be in the country legally. In that sort of situation, a migrant is hard-pressed to protest poor working conditions. Some even describe this situation as “modern day slavery.” Second, these programs are temporary. They require that migrants leave their families behind, work for a short-period and then return home. There is no possibility for settlement. Finally, protesters believe that neoliberal policies in their home countries (including the hypermobility of capital that their government’s help to facilitate) are what drive people to have to seek employment abroad to begin with.

“Dr. Rodriguez’s mentorship and advising of young scholars matches the high quality of her academic scholarship.” – Michael Viola, Assistant Professor, St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA.