Dr. Martínez's research and teaching interests include race and ethnicity, unauthorized immigration, and criminology. He is particularly interested in the social and legal criminalization of unauthorized migration. Dr. Martínez has also conducted extensive research on deportations and undocumented border crosser deaths along the US-Mexico border. He is a principal investigator of the Migrant Border Crossing Study, a Ford Foundation-funded research project that examines recently deported unauthorized migrants' experiences crossing the US-Mexico border and residing in the United States.
His current research focuses on 1) Latino/a panethnicity, 2) the relationship between so-called “sanctuary” policies and city-level crime rates, and 3) the ecological correlates of officer-involved shootings and violent crime in southwestern cities.
Dr. Martínez is an affiliate of the Mexican American Studies Department, the School of Geography & Development, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the SBS Human Rights Practice Program. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the American Sociological Review and the Journal on Migration and Human Security.